The morning my husband woke up with a bruised purple eye was the day I realised the time had come to get our baby to transition to his own room.
Our baby, who slept in his comfy cot, an arm’s distance from our bed, had yet again, at 2 in the morning, self-exiled himself and squeezed his way into our bed.
Our unsuspecting organs and limbs got bruised and hurt when he kicked in his sleep or forced us to sleep in awkward positions.
My knight in shining armour, aka, the husband, looked at the brighter side of things and pretended his purple eye had been the result of some noble quest, “You should have seen the other guy,” he said to his co-workers as he hinted at some made-up tale of bravery and courage to overcome the embarrassing truth.
I glanced at the other guy, with his delicate nose and tiny toes, and wondered how his accidental headbutt could wreak so much destruction.
But the truth was, it wasn’t his fault: Our proximity to his cot and allowing him to beg his way into our bed during the night were responsible for these bruises.
Now, only two paths lay ahead of us:
We could spend the rest of our lives comically being kicked in the chin and groin as we tried to get some shut-eye, or we could muster our strength and upgrade our roommate to his own suite.
(Contrary to the evidence, sleep deprivation doesn’t hamper your critical thinking or decision-making. In fact, some of the best resolutions are made when you are tired and sleep-deprived. And so it was decided.)
Here’s how you, too, can get your baby comfortable transitioning to their own room and get some undisturbed sleep.
Their new room: Fun and familiar
Once you have set up the baby’s room, start by spending afternoon play and nap time there. This will allow your baby to become familiar with his surroundings; the smell, the sound of the bird, the ticking of the cuckoo clock during the day, the pictures on the walls, etc. All this will make him feel safe when you put him to bed in that room at night.
While this may be easier for younger babies, older babies, especially those over 9 months, may take longer to get used to new spaces. In that case, let them explore the room during the day so they can feel more at home when you start off with the bedtime routine in that same space.
If you have a toddler, you could use their need to call the shots to your advantage.
Bedtime routine, but make it fun
Start by introducing a fun bedtime routine in their room to get them comfortable with their sleep routine. Be prepared to add some silly songs, slow lullabies, and even goodnight kisses to some 40 different stuffed animals. (Remember, whatever it takes.)
These steps help more with older babies and toddlers by letting them get into the habit of knowing what to expect after.
First bed: Safe and inviting
Never underestimate the power of a durable bed and a fun bed sheet, especially if you have a toddler.
One fun idea we tried with Junior was to make sure his favourite stuffed animal never left his bed, complete with a jungle-themed bed sheet. Roary the lion would rule his kingdom. At night, the guard rail, a safety feature that let me sleep without any stress, would come up, and the two kings would go on adventures.
Even with younger babies, you can make the cot inviting and fun for the first few months by using mobiles or placing glow-in-the dark stars and their favourite toys next to their cot or crib.
But remember, no stuffed animals, extra sheets, pillows, or bumpers should be placed inside the crib, as they can be dangerous for infants.
If you are looking for a cot that is highly safety certified, the Kookaburra Cot from Joey by Koala is an excellent choice. Not only is it absolutely gorgeous, but it is from Australia’s most certified baby sleep range and is Red Nose approved for safer sleep. So, you can sleep easy, knowing your baby is truly safe and sound.
Slow and steady
Babies are smart. Rush the process, and you’ll scare them into thinking you’re abandoning them. The goal is to get the results you need to get a good night’s sleep, but also to make them believe that it is their idea of an adventure. So move the cot into their room and fall asleep on a mattress for a few nights. Then sit next to their cot or bed as they fall asleep before you gradually transition to sitting at a distance. Gradually, you’ll find that your baby is getting better at this and that you don’t need to sit around at all.
Test the waters
Is it too soon? Is your baby ready for this change? Wouldn’t it be great if you could get your Goldilocks baby to nap in the perfect cot or bed without waking up to face the wrath of three angry bears?
Well, what if I said you could? Joey by Koala isn’t just Australia’s most certified baby sleep range; their toolless assembly and 120-night trial period lets you set up and can try the bed and see if “it’s…just right” for your baby.
And unless you live in the middle of the woods—sorry, bears—Joey even offers to pick it up for free if its not the perfect fit for you (or the little one!).
A good night’s rest starts with a great bed and a baby who’s peacefully sleeping in their own room.
This is a paid partnership between Kiindred and Joey by Koala.