As a parent to a newborn baby, it can feel like just as you get used to something, your baby’s routine will suddenly change. It can happen overnight, and it’s up to you to figure out how to support them through their new routines and sleep regressions. In fact, sleep schedules seem to constantly be changing as the months go on, so, therefore, it’s very natural to ask yourself the question, when should I start putting my baby upstairs to sleep?
Babies should sleep in your room with you for at least 6 months. This is because having your baby sleep in your room helps to lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), commonly known as cot death. The largest UK study into SIDS noted that out of the 321 babies whose death was classified as death from SIDS, 114 died when they were alone in a room, and 81 were sharing the room with their parents.
It’s natural for parents to want to ask questions such as “when should I start putting my baby upstairs to sleep?”, “how can I establish good sleep patterns for my baby”?, and “how can I help my baby to sleep at night?”. Here are some of the best tips to help you to establish good sleeping habits for your baby.
How to establish good nighttime sleeping habits for babies.
Establishing good sleeping habits for your baby will not only benefit your child but will also enable you to get a better night’s sleep. If you’re tired of being up at all hours of the night with your baby, you’re not alone. It’s no wonder parents often ask “when should I start putting my baby upstairs to sleep?” – I know just how much the constant interruptions to your sleep can start to affect your mental health. If you want to know how to establish good nighttime sleeping habits for your baby and claw back some hours of sleep, take a look at these tips.
- Create a consistent, calming bedtime routine
- Put your baby down to sleep when they’re drowsy, but not yet asleep
- Keep nighttime care short, quiet, and efficient
- Consider white noise
- Adapt to your baby’s preferences
Let’s take a closer look at these tips below!
Create a consistent, calming bedtime routine.
Your baby is never too young for you to start implementing a calm and consistent bedtime routine. Creating a calm routine before bed will help your baby to understand that it’s time to start winding down for the day, and using a quiet, calming voice will help to solidify that thought. Try to avoid overstimulating your baby before bedtime with noisy or bright coloured toys, loud singing or laughing, or watching TV. Instead, try giving them a bath, having cuddles, singing lullabies, or even reading.
Put your baby down to sleep when they’re drowsy, but not yet asleep.
Asking ‘when should I start putting my baby upstairs to sleep?’ is something that parents should consider when their baby is able to self-settle in their cot or Moses basket. Creating healthy bedtime habits is all about your baby knowing when it’s time for bed and associating their cot or Moses basket with sleep. Because of this, it’s a great idea to put your baby in their bed just before they’re about to drift off to sleep as this will help them to associate their bed with sleep.
Keep nighttime care short, quiet, and efficient.
When caring for your baby in the middle of the night, it’s vital that you keep stimuli to a minimum. Avoid turning on the light and instead opt for a soft lamp or night light that doesn’t fully illuminate the room. Do not talk loudly, instead speak in a quiet and calm voice, reaffirming to your baby that it’s sleep time, not playtime. If you can help it, try not to pick up and move your baby around too much, as this movement can trigger babies to think that it’s time to get up and start the day.
Consider white noise.
It’s normal to question the quality of sleep your baby will get when you start to ask ‘when should I start putting my baby upstairs to sleep?’. Although it may sound counterintuitive to put your baby down at bedtime with white noise in the background, many babies actually sleep much better with some form of background noise as opposed to complete silence. Newborn babies in particular are used to hearing the steady beat of their mother’s heart, the submerged sounds of others talking, and the constant swishing of noises from inside the womb. Therefore, most parents find that playing white noise in the baby’s bedroom helps to soothe and settle them, making the transition from their parent’s room to their own room a little easier.
Adapt to your baby’s preferences.
The transition from your baby sleeping in your room to sleeping in their own room isn’t always an easy one. It’s something that takes both child and parents some getting used to. After a while, both child and parents should find things get a little easier, however, if you are still experiencing problems, sometimes the best thing to do is simply adapt to your baby’s preferences as best you can. Remember that this will not last forever and that adapting to your baby’s schedule for a short while could save you all a lot of tears.
What to avoid when settling your baby down for sleep.
If you’ve made the decision to choose now as the answer to ‘when should I start putting my baby upstairs to sleep?’, here are a few things you should know about this milestone.
- Babies cough, sneeze, and even cry a little to themselves. Ideally, you want to remain calm and not rush to them straight away. When your baby starts gurgling or talking to themselves, resist the urge to go to them straight away. Instead, leave them for a little while longer and see if they settle themselves back down.
- Don’t let your baby’s sleeping bag or blanket cover their face. To help reduce the risk of cot death, ensure you place your child in the feet to foot position – this means that their feet should be by the foot of their bed. Ensure your baby is not put to bed with a duvet or pillow.
- Less is more when it comes to your baby’s sleeping environment. Although cuddly toys and mobiles may look cute, they crowd your baby and offer unwanted stimulation at bed time.
Where should your baby sleep during the day?
If you’re wondering “when should I start putting my baby upstairs to sleep at night”, you’re probably wondering the same about nap times. Well, the same rules apply to your baby during the day as they do at night time.
If your child is under 6 months old, they should always be asleep in a moses basket or similar structure that’s been designed for sleeping in. Parents should make sure that they’re near to their child and are able to see them whilst they sleep. For babies that have started to sleep in their own beds at night time, you should continue to encourage them to nap in the same environment. Ensuring that your baby sleeps as much as possible in their own room upstairs will help them to associate their room with sleep and eventually, settling your baby down at night time should become easier.
When Should I Start Putting My Baby Upstairs to Sleep?
In order to answer the question, “when should I start putting my baby upstairs to sleep?” you must first consider their age. Babies under 6 months of age should always sleep in the same room as their parents in order to reduce the risk of SIDs. However, once your baby has passed the 6 months of age milestone, it’s entirely the parent’s choice as to when they should start sleeping upstairs. Some parents prefer to make the move as soon as possible, whereas other parents prefer to wait a little longer before making the leap. Whatever you choose to do, use the tips above to help ensure your baby establishes a good nighttime routine and stays safe during the night.