How to Transition Your Baby to a Cot
Hello parents! Is it time to transition your baby from a bassinet to a cot? Let’s paint the picture… your baby has been sleeping soundly (or not so soundly) in your bedroom since they were born but before you know it they have outgrown their bassinet and need to change up the sleeping arrangements. Although you might feel super connected to having your baby close in sight, this is a sign that your baby is growing up and ready to take their next developmental sleep step. If this change feels daunting to you, you are not alone! Follow along with these few key points and you’ll be on track for a smooth transition.
Key Milestone to Make Sure It’s The Right Time
Is your baby sleeping through the night? If you are needing to frequently feed or soothe your baby during the night, moving them into a cot in another room may not be practical for the time being. If you haven’t reached the point of sleeping through the night, don’t worry. Sleeping through the night is a developmental milestone that occurs at any stage between 3-6 months. Whilst it might not happen every night, you will start to see patterns where they are sleeping longer and waking less frequently. This is an indication they may be ready for their own space.
Is your baby outgrowing their bassinet? If your little one's legs are getting longer by the day and starting to outgrow the bassinet then this is a pretty clear sign that it's time to make the move. This may happen by about the 6 month old stage. Most bassinets will actually tell you a recommended weight limit so it is always a good idea to be aware of what that is and keep an eye on whether your baby looks cramped in their bassinet.
Is your baby wriggly during the night? Some babies just love to show off their movement skills during the night. Hitting these new movement milestones is super exciting but also a sign that they need that extra wiggle room at nighttime. If this is the case for your baby it is much safer to move them to a cot to increase air flow around them and reduce any sids risk.
You’re forgetting someone very important… YOU! Don’t get us wrong, your baby's well being is of the utmost importance but let’s not forget you and your needs. How are YOU sleeping with your baby next to you? Do you wake up whenever they make a peep? There is absolutely no shame in creating a sleep environment that best suits the wellbeing of everyone in the family.
If you’ve checked through these milestones and decided moving your baby to a cot is the right thing to do, then keep reading! Remember, there is no wrong or right answer here. Making the transition to a cot is a personal decision and these milestones are just a few gentle guidelines.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Let’s all be kind to ourselves during this change in routine and acknowledge that you might be a little bit emotional about separating yourself from bubs during the night. Don't worry, this is not a rip off of the bandaid type of approach. We believe in approaching all new developmental phases gently and in a manner that is in the best interest of the baby AND the parents.
If your baby doesn't take to their new cot straight away, ease off and continue to try and introduce it to them slowly but surely. If you’re looking for a clean cut answer on how long this transition will take… sorry, we cannot give that to you. Every baby is beautifully unique and will transition at their own pace. Just be aware that you may have to step backwards with a sleep regression before things get better.
Start off with naps in the cot. Get your baby feeling familiar and safe in the crib before having them sleep in there for the whole night. A good idea is to introduce them to naps in the cot for the first few weeks before fully transitioning.
Start in the same room. If keeping the crib in your room is much more in your comfort zone, then go for it! Alternatively, you could set up a bed in your nursery so that you can be present while your baby first doses off to sleep. Better yet, you might feel more comfortable having the cot in your room for the first couple of nights and then when you feel everything is going well, move it into the nursery.
Make their crib feel safe and comfortable. Teach your baby to self sooth with the help of a Riff Raff Sleep Toy with your scent on it to add that feeling that mummy or daddy is close by. The more cozy you can make the cot feel, the smoother the transition will be for your little one. Be sure to make use of the Riff Raff white noise and lullaby and pair that with soft lighting (or blackout blinds) at bedtime for a calming touch.
Safety first. Ensure you don’t put any extra pillows, toys or blankets into your cot that can become a suffocation hazard to your baby. A boring cot is a safe cot. Other Red Nose Guidelines include making sure your baby is sleeping on their back with their feet at the bottom of the crib. It is essential that you are equipped with all the SIDS Safe guidelines before transitioning to a cot.
Use a baby monitor. Can we take a moment to appreciate modern day technology!? We could kiss whoever invented baby monitors. The peace of mind that seeing and hearing your baby anytime you need to is invaluable. That way you can make sure they are sleeping safely and can be confident that you can step in whenever your baby needs.
Consistency is key. Babies respond very well to routines and signals that it’s nearly time to sleep. Introducing a bedtime routine is an integral part of a successful night's sleep. If you haven’t already got a nighttime routine, you can start by introducing a bath, bedtime book, snuggles and then tuck them in to sleep and make that a regular part of their evening routine. With that in mind, it is best to start your transition at a time that suits your family and avoid a period where you might be going on holidays, moving house or doing anything else outside of your normal day to day routine.
Good luck & sweet dreams! We hope you found these tips helpful and we wish you and bubs a good night's sleep.