When your baby is a newborn, she might not sleep in her cot because it is far from mom and dad who are her primary comfort sources during the night. And, it might seem too big compared to the womb, especially if she is not swaddled. In this case, you may have chosen to have your baby sleep in your room for her first few months. Your intentions were to then transition her to a cot once she is sleeping through the night.
Months later, now your baby won’t sleep in the cot because, to her, it is the equivalent of you going to sleep in the guest room. It is only her bed because you are telling her it is her bed. She has no real sense that her cot or her room is a place actually for her. She does not know the cot as her bed or as a place for sleep.
This is where sleep associations come into play how you are putting baby to sleep and with the way she knows how to fall asleep. Does she need to move to sleep (via rocking chair, bouncing ball, or bouncy seat)? Does she need to suck to sleep (via pacifier, nursing, or bottle)? And, is she in a comfortable place to sleep? Up until now she has not slept in her cot, so why would that be a comfortable place today just because she turned 5 or 6 months old?
The primary goal in helping your baby sleep in the cot is to make it feel like HER room and HER bed. Here are a few tips you might consider:
* Consider putting your bed in baby’s room for a few days.
* Make sure you spend non-sleep time in baby’s room
* Have him sleep on his own cot sheet for a few days, so it has his scent
* You sleep on his cot sheet for a few days, so it has YOUR scent
* Give it time. Do not expect it to go perfectly the first day. It might take a few days to a couple of weeks, but the first few nights will most likely be the most difficult. Expect it to be rough and he might just surprise you, but do expect it to take work. Only some will have an easy transition.
Before transitioning your baby to sleep in his cot, be sure your baby knows how to fall asleep on his own. Otherwise, you are simply going back and forth from your room to his all night, instead of reaching over a foot or two. Even if your baby is sleeping great in your room, if she has trouble adjusting to sleeping in her cot, make sure you are sensitive to the fact that this is a new place for her and do not just let her cry it out. Some babies actually sleep better once they are in their own space, not smelling Mommy’s milk or hearing Daddy’s snoring all night long.