Q: After sharing a room with our newborn for six months, we’re ready to move him to the nursery. How can we make the transition as smooth, safe and comfortable as possible?
A: Great question! Here are a few tips to get you started.
Prepare the nursery.
If you haven’t already, install room darkening shades and a dim night-light. Make sure his crib has a firm mattress, without bumpers, pillows, toys or blankets in it. Set up and test your baby monitor. Make sure the room is cool enough, as young babies have a hard time regulating their temperature. Get a fan if need be.
Acclimate him to his room.
Spend time with your baby in his new room.Change and dress him there, and enjoy floor time while you put away laundry or read books.
Have him nap in his room.
If the crib is already in the nursery and you have been using a co-sleeping device or bassinet, you can try having him nap in his room first. Always place him on his back in his crib.
Check in with your pediatrician.
Ask your doctor whether your baby needs a feeding at night and, if so, how many based his age, weight, feeds during the day and health. This will help you make a plan for the nights.
Decide if you need to sleep-coach him.
If your baby does not know how to put himself to sleep independently at bedtime and is waking frequently (more than your doctor thinks is necessary for feeding, for example), then you may want to do some gentle sleep-coaching while he is still in your bedroom. Start at bedtime after a great day of naps, and decide on a night weaning plan if need be. Once he is going to bed easily and his night wakings have reduced, you can move him into his room every night.
—Kim West, LCSW-C, an infant sleep expert known to her clients as The Sleep Lady