It happens sometime between a few weeks and six months old. At first it starts with cute cooing noises from their crib, which later progress to snoring! So, when your darling babe becomes more vocal and less dependent at night times, when nappy changes are less often and feedings aren’t quite as frequent, it’s time to think about moving your baby to a cot bed in their own room.
Met in equal measures of delight as well as sadness (that your baby is growing up fast), it can be quite a challenging time for everyone involved.
To help make the transition easier, we’ve compiled the following expert advice and recommendations covering all the essentials:
When to move?
Official guidelines from The Lullaby Trust recommend that the safest place for a baby to sleep is a separate baby cot or Moses basket, in the same room as its parents for the first six months of life. This includes naps by day as well as night time sleeps. This is said to help reduce the chance of SIDs.
All the gear
Whether your child is in a; co-sleeper, crib or Moses basket, they ideally need to transition to a cot or cot bed around the age of six months old, to support their growing body.
What’s the difference? Well, although serving the same purpose, a cot bed tends to be longer and wider than a cot, so it can grow with your child. Quite the investment piece, they can be adapted (with and without the sides) usually up until toddler and pre-school age. You’ll be wise to get one with a wipe-clean surface for potty training!
Kitting out the nursery
It will stand you in good stead to plan your nursery in advance. When you’re in full-on parent mode, every minute counts. Once you’ve found the perfect cot bed for your child’s room, there’s a couple of other essentials to note.
For the bedding, it’s worth considering organic cotton fitted cot bed sheets. Sustainable cotton is sourced from ethical producers that don’t use pesticides. This results in a kinder fabric, that is soft in touch, gentle on delicate skin with long-lasting qualities.
If possible, opt for organic cotton in their bedding and clothing, which they directly touch.
Our organic cotton muslin fitted cot bed sheets are both eco-friendly and printed using non-toxic dyes, for complete reassurance.
Take it nice and slow
If you own a pet, this might sound familiar; introduce your baby slowly to its new environment! This is because babies are real sticklers for familiarity and routine. With this in mind, take it slowly when making the transition, keeping some things the same for a while (comforters, bedding, light and sounds).
To ease them in, you may want to position their Moses basket next to, or even inside the cot bed in the weeks leading up to the big move. Or, during feeding times, take your little one into the nursery to show them their cot bed, as a welcoming place. It’s all about creating positive associations at this stage.
Bring it comfort
Much like your boudoir, make your child’s bedroom a place of comfort and serenity for optimum resting.
Babies love to snuggle up, so when you’re not there, a muslin comforter can double up as a security blanket. This is usually better than a toy, which could pose a suffocation hazard. Some parents even keep the comforter on them for a few days, so that their scent lingers.
Some experts also believe that young children sleep better when they have a comforter, as it helps them feel safe and secure. Anything that encourages them to feel relaxed and help them sleep is a major thumbs-up!
The general advice is not to give comforters to babies under six months old at bedtimes. However, it is still wise to keep an eye on them after this age too.
Since comforters are going to be all up in their face, choose organic cotton where possible; it’s just much kinder all around.
Keep it snug
Much like swaddling, little one’s love being wrapped up tightly and securely. It gives them a sense of security that they so crave in the early days. Sure, you can still use baby blankets at this stage, although many parents prefer to use ‘baby sleeping bags’. These create a snug environment, keeping baby cocooned so they (and you) can get some sleep.
And finally, the greatest skill you’ll learn as a parent; the art of distraction! Whatever it takes to get them feeling happy, secure and comfortable in their room, is worth a shot.
When it comes to bedtimes; projectors, baby mobiles and soother toys are all great sources of inspiration.
Whether it’s Ewan the Dream Sheep (revered in parent circles and NCT classes up and down the land!), a rocking device to gently nudge your little one to sleep, or a mobile that plays soothing songs, helping them on their journey to the land of nod.
Whatever you choose, use it to lull your little on into a dreamy sleep.