Saturday, March 13, 2010

Getting baby to sleep in their own room

Getting baby to sleep in their own room at night is an occasion celebrated in most homes! Making it happen is often another story.
In our home, getting from point A to point B is several months in the making, but can be shortened if there is a need. We start with the end in mind from the time baby is born.
Point A: The cradle in our room

Point B: The crib in her room
My "Plan" is to have the baby out of her cradle completely by the time she is 5 months, or is too mobile for such a small place. If you want the baby out sooner, just do everything on a faster plan than I do. I like to keep her close until she outgrows the early morning feeding, which is about that time.
Love Bug has slept in our room since we brought her home. I like having her close at night so I don't have to go far to get her and can hear her well. I have a "lovey" for her that we tuck in next to her face when she sleeps. She likes to have something touching her cheek and covering one eye. (btw I bought 4 of them, so that when she loses it as she gets older, we have others to replace it) I also have a CD player in our room that plays lullaby's 24/7. I turn the music up louder during the day and have it at an almost inaudible level at night. If you've spent any time in a house with 4 other kids, you know the importance of teaching a baby to sleep through noise.
I put her in her cradle when she is sleepy but not asleep so she can learn to fall asleep on her own without rocking etc.
After the first month, I start taking her into her room for "visits" a few times a week. We don't use a changing table (rather not run up and down stairs all day long just to change her) so if you have one in the baby's room you won't need to make a special visit (you will want to put baby in the crib for a bit though). While we are visiting her room, I put her in her crib. She just lays in her crib looking at the mobile and talking to the bumper. I usually fold her laundry and straighten up the room while I'm there.
By the end of the second month, the visits are every day. I plan them so they are after she's fed and before she's tired. I want her to be awake and see that this place is just as cool as mom and dad's room.
At three to three and a half months I put her in her room for naps. She has her lovey with her and the CD player goes in her room with her too, making it all more familiar. I like to stay in her room for a while until she's dozed off, so I plan things to do while I'm there for 5-10 minutes. Laundry folding, moving clothes she's outgrown out of her drawers, reading, etc. I don't let her know I'm there and if she fusses too much, I help her calm down for a minute then "disappear" again. At this age, baby is usually too young to pull themselves up and see you there.
It only takes a few weeks to get her napping in her room without any problems. When the time comes for her to sleep in her room overnight, she's already so used to it that there are no problems with it being a strange place.

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