Written by Editorial Team
A new policy statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics in October 2016 mentions that infants should sleep in the same bedroom as their parents – but on a separate surface such as a cot, a crib, or a bassinet. As per the policy, parents need to consider getting their babies to sleep in the same room as theirs at least for the first six months, which could further extend up to one year after birth.
Having your baby sleep in your room in his own crib or cot helps parents ensure a safe sleeping environment and reduces anxiety over the baby’s sleep patterns. After all, monitoring gadgets and devices are no match for a mother’s watchful eye and gentle touch.
In This Article
Given a baby’s unpredictable and dynamic sleep schedule, it isn’t easy for parents to teach their babies to sleep in a cot. Well, here are some ways you can achieve that!
The very first step to introducing your baby to a sleep-time routine is to build a schedule and follow it, rather diligently. The schedule could comprise drawing the curtains, dimming the lights, singing a familiar lullaby, cradling the child in your arms, and lastly, laying them into the cot. It will be a while before your baby warms up to the schedule, so patience is the key! As Charles Dickens once said, “I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence”
The baby’s cot can be positioned close to or very next to your own. This can help the baby calm down, being completely aware of their proximity to their parents. A parent’s gentle and calming touch can be an absolute reality for the baby if the height and arrangement of the baby cot are taken care of. Narrating your baby’s favorite bedtime story or singing their much-loved lullaby while sleeping so close to baby, yet on your own separate surface (your own bed), can come true if you follow this trick.
As babies breastfeed and sometimes fall asleep while nursing, they are familiar with their mother’s scent. They recognize the fragrance and look to it for comfort. To help your baby sleep in their own cot, you can sleep on their cot sheet for a couple of days so it has your fragrance on it. This will soothe your baby when you place it in the cot and help them drift away into sweet slumber. Well, at least for the next few hours, until hunger strikes!
A quick, warm bath before bedtime can be just what you are looking for to get your baby to sleep. Soft and comfortable clothes after a soothing bath, and a gentle baby blanket to cover your baby can do the trick, more than you imagined. The bath can well be a part of the sleep-time routine described earlier.
This, however, comes with a caveat. Keep your baby’s favorite soft toys, pillows, comforters, and sheepskins attached to the cot only until the baby falls asleep. The presence of familiar and favorite objects can ease the process of getting the baby into the cot and calming them.
Keeping the objects inside the cot even after the baby and you fall asleep, could lead to strangulation, suffocation, asphyxiation, and so on if the baby twists and turns during the night. Such untoward and unpleasant outcomes can be prevented if parents act with caution.
In today’s hyper-connected, digitally-savvy “smart” world driven by technology, a child is exposed to mobile, television, and laptop screens at a very young age. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that this exposure begins right at the infancy stage. The harmful effects of these screens on a baby’s brain, eyesight, and cognitive development are undebatable. It is best to turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Following this routine will eventually signal bedtime to your baby.
Feeding the baby before the sleep hour not only ensures that your baby is well-fed but also assures you of a few hours of rest before the next feeding cycle. Added to this, a dim room ambience, and soft music can signal the baby its sleep time. Gently placing the baby in the cot after such calming pre-bedtime activities, can surely get them to sleep through the next couple of nights in their own cot or crib
Per the age of your baby, they sleep once, twice, or a maximum of thrice during the day. It is during these daytime naps that you can try placing your baby in their own cot or crib and signing or reading them to sleep. As the baby settles in their own space, their resistance to sleeping in the cot through the night will eventually reduce
All along, it’s important to ensure your child’s safety by taking a few precautions. Make sure your baby sleeps in the feet-to-foot position where their feet touch the end of the cot. Also, ensure that the blanket is placed no higher than the shoulders. A pacifier can come in handy at bedtime as it reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
A sound and adequate sleep for your child leads to improved mental and physical health, longer attention span, calmer and more composed behavior, improved memory and information retention, and better learning capabilities. As you teach your baby to sleep in his own space, on a surface separate from yours, it incorporates a value for individuality and respect for personal space in your child, in the long run.
How did you teach your baby to sleep in his cot? Do share your experience in the comments section below.
It is recommended that you start sleep training your baby when he or she is around four months old. Babies of this age are often able to learn how to self-soothe and may no longer need nighttime feedings after reaching this milestone.
It takes some time for a newborn’s circadian system to develop, but by the time a baby is around five months old, they are able to sleep for extended periods of time throughout the night.
If your child is an independent sleeper, they may gladly remain awake in their crib while sleep pressure mounts. Check-in on them often, but if they’re happy and secure, it’s OK to let them hang around in their crib.
With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.
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