Transitioning your baby from sleeping in your room to a cot in their own room is a big (sometimes emotional!) milestone. Whilst this transition can feel huge, often babies don’t blink an eyelid and it feels far bigger to us as parents than it does for them!
In this blog post, we will discuss some steps and strategies to transition your baby to their own room, so that it is as smooth and stress-free as possible🧘♀️
⏰Timing the Transition
Choosing the right time to transition your baby to their own room is important. The Lullaby Trust’s guidelines recommend to wait until your baby is six months old before making the move, as this age ensures they have developed a more regular sleep pattern and are less dependent on nighttime feeds. However, every baby (and parent) is different, so observe your little one's readiness and how you are feeling emotionally about having the physical space between you and your baby and only move them if it feels in alignment with where you are at.
🥰Familiarise Your Baby
Introduce your baby to their cot and bedroom gradually to help them feel comfortable and secure in their new sleep space. We recommend starting with some naps in their bedroom, reading stories, nappy changes - all of these are good options to help them become accustomed to the new sleep environment. The first nap of the day is a good one to start with as it tends to be the one they go down the most easily for.
You can also bring some familiarity - their sleeping bag, most-used blanket, dummy/comforter in their cot which will help them to feel more comfortable.
🛏Establish a Bedtime Routine
Consistency is key in preparing your baby for the transition. Establish a bedtime routine that includes activities like a warm bath, soothing massage, bedtime feed, reading a bedtime story, and singing a lullaby. This routine will signal to your baby that it's time for sleep and if it’s consistent with what you were doing before they transitioned to their own room this will really help.
🧸A Safe Sleep Environment
Ensure that your baby's cot meets all safety guidelines to provide an optimal sleep environment. Use a firm crib mattress with a fitted sheet and remove any loose bedding, nests or toys that could pose a suffocation risk. Position your baby on their back to sleep and avoid using cot bumpers. Additionally, maintain a safe room temperature (between 16 and 20 degrees celsius is optimal) and we highly recommend using a sleeping bag instead of loose blankets.
Maintain consistency in your baby's bedtime routine during the transition. Stick to the same activities and order of events as before, even though the sleep location has changed. This familiarity will provide a sense of continuity and comfort, making the transition to their bedroom smoother.
💕Provide Comfort and Reassurance
During the transition, your baby may cry a little more. Offer reassurance and comfort by using gentle, consistent settling and support. You can sit near the cot to do this or come in at regular, short intervals. Some babies really respond well to a comforter with your familiar scent, to create a sense of closeness.
🍼Be Responsive to Nighttime Needs
During the first couple of nights, babies may wake more frequently or experience difficulty adjusting to their new sleep environment. Be responsive, offering comfort and reassurance if they need it.
Transitioning your baby to their own room may not happen overnight. We tried with Jago around 6 months (who had been sleeping through the night in our room beforehand) and the first night ended up being disturbed, so we moved him back in with us, and then tried again a couple of weeks later, which worked much better. Be patient and persistent and with time, your baby will totally adjust to and love their bedroom.
By choosing the right timing, familiarising your baby with their room, establishing a bedtime routine, creating a safe sleep environment, maintaining consistency, providing comfort and reassurance, and being patient, you can navigate this transition successfully.
In our experience, the first night is more anxiety-inducing for parents (constantly checking the baby monitor!) than it is for babies, who often are totally content with the transition to their own room 💫