From the beginning, Soren has stayed with us in our room at night. We set up a little bassinet and he would sleep close to us every night. He also woke up a ton throughout the night to be nursed, and just like every other parent, we didn’t get much sleep at all! Even when he was sleeping, I would wake up just to check on him.
As Soren approached 5 months, my husband and I had many conversations about when and how we should transition him into his OWN room. We knew it would be good for us to have nighttime to be together or get extra work done and we could also tell Soren wasn’t sleeping as well and seemed a little extra cranky.
We decided on a day to start the transition, agreed to the “terms,” and went in with a team mindset to help coach Soren to sleep in his room. It was very difficult at first, and we sincerely questioned our ability to follow through, but we encouraged each other and kept at it. About 1.5 weeks later, Soren became used to his routine and is going down in his crib without a fuss and sleeping anywhere from 9-11 hours. It’s amazing, and we might have had a little dance party to celebrate the success! As a first-time mother, this gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to mother. I can’t even express in words how relieving and exciting this step has been for us. We are all sleeping better, happier and enjoying each other more. And that is SO good!
In order to prepare Soren for his transition, here are a few simple steps we followed:
Have a Nighttime Routine – I’ve heard over and over again that babies thrive on routine, and our personal experience has really shown this to be true. We have a special nighttime routine with Soren that we strive to abide by every night. This includes bathtime, coconut oil rub-down, PJs, cuddles, nursing, a little song and saying goodnight to his room and each other before laying him in his crib. We aren’t always perfect on the timing, but we try to make it as consistent as possible without being too strict. Soren naturally starts to get sleepy when we start his routine and comes to expect bedtime to follow.
Prepare the Room – I worked so hard to prepare Soren’s nursery before he arrived and was surprised to find that I hardly used it the first 4 months. Once we decided to transition him, we went back in his room, cleaned everything up, re-washed the bed sheets, purchased a sound machine, and made it a cozy place for Soren. We also started spending a little bit of playtime in his room so he could get used to his new space.
Agree on the “Terms” – No matter what sleep training method you decide to move forward with, make sure you and your significant other are on the same page! Agree on the rules, set the boundaries, and answer as many questions before starting. This will really help the “team” effort and make the transition easier and more successful. Jon and I each had a lot of weak moments, and it was so wonderful having each other there to encourage and support during a sometimes emotional transition.
Nap Time – While we don’t strictly put Soren down for a nap in his crib, we do try and put him in there most of the time. This has just helped reinforce that his crib is for sleeping and it’s helped him to enjoy it more and more. One reason we aren’t too strict with where he naps is because we want him to be slightly adaptable in case he’s at his grandparents or if we’re traveling. While we haven’t “perfected” naptime (who has?) we are planning to work on this aspect more once we continue into our nighttime sleeping a little more.
Take Back the Night – Once you are able to transition your little one into sleep in their own bed and in their own room, you get the night back! This was huge for me and my husband. As mentioned above, we found that we were all sleeping better, all in a better mood, and enjoying each other so much more. It has also been wonderful having the time after Soren goes to bed to enjoy time with Jon and get extra things done that had to be set aside during the day.
These steps have helped us SO much! We are thrilled!! Do you have any tips for preparing baby for the big transition? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section below. :)