- Transitioning your baby to their own room
Today on the Expert podcast Carla speaks with ONC Qualified sleep consultant Cate Hope about transitioning a baby from your bedroom in to their own. We discuss safety aspects as well as how to smoothly transition them without causing any distress.
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[00:01:48] Carla: Hello and welcome to My Bump 2 Baby Expert podcast, where we bring experts from all over the UK to answer your questions on everything. Pregnancy to preschool.
[00:02:11] Carla: Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of My Bump 2 Baby’s Expert Podcast. Today I am joined by the lovely Cate Hope from Peaceful Nights and she’s going to be sharing her top tips on transitioning your baby from your bedroom into their own. I hope you enjoy this episode.
[00:02:35] Carla: Hello everybody and welcome to My Bump 2 Baby’s Expert Podcast.
[00:02:40] Carla: Today I am delighted to be joined by Cate Hope from Peaceful Nights. Cate Hope is a sleep consultant and she helps you get sleep as a parent. So hello Cate, how are you?
[00:02:53] Cate: Hi there, Carla. Lovely to be here.
[00:02:55] Carla: Oh, it’s lovely to have you on here. You have so much knowledge of what parents actually want when it comes to sleep.
[00:03:04] Carla: And, and today we’re going to be talking a little bit about transitioning from a baby being in your room to their own room, aren’t we? So, but before we get started, Cate, do you want to kind of share a little bit about you and your background?
[00:03:18] Cate: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. Um, so I’ve been a sleep consultant for some years now, um, and I’ve been working with children for over 30 years.
[00:03:27] Cate: Um, and I offer two different services. Um, if you live in Kent or Southeast London, I can come to your home and stay overnight and put the sleep support in place. Or you can talk to me online via Zoom. I’ve worked with hundreds of babies over the years, um, and it’s just a wonderful, very satisfying job.
[00:03:47] Carla: Oh, I bet, I bet I know because you, the thing is you’re helping parents, but then also helping the baby get a good night’s sleep as well, aren’t you?
[00:03:54] Carla: So I bet it’s quite rewarding, really. I know a lot of people, um, parents think, oh, I’m, I’m a bit nervous about getting a sleep person in. I’ll just, I’ll just, um, keep going and keep going and eventually they can make themselves quite ill, you know, from sleep deprivation. So it is just, uh, it’s better getting it nipped in the bud, um, early if you can really, isn’t it?
[00:04:16] Cate: Yeah, it is. And I think it’s not quite as scary as people think that, um, it’s just finding the right person for you. Um, and most of us, I think as sleep consultants, we want parents to be happy and relaxed with what’s happening. Um, and we want to work with people, um, to get a really nice result.
[00:04:35] Cate: So yeah, don’t be, don’t be too scared.
[00:04:37] Carla: No, no, that’s it. Exactly. When should someone transition a baby into their own room?
[00:04:43] Cate: The first thing to consider when you’re transitioning your baby is, of course, safe sleep. Um, the best people to go to for advice about safe sleep are the wonderful Lullaby Trust. And their website is full of guidance and helpful advice.
[00:05:00] Cate: So, The Lullaby Trust and the NHS recommend that your baby is six months old before you move them to their own room. Um, before that it’s really best to have them safely sleeping in the same room as you. So I wouldn’t advise anyone to move their baby to their own room before they’re six months old. And then the second thing to consider is how parents feel about moving their baby because actually there is no pressure.
[00:05:32] Cate: Anywhere from six to 12 months is a good time to transition your baby and it could be later than that if that’s what works for you. So if you’re not ready to move them, then that’s fine. Something that might influence this down the line is if you were to have another baby on the way, then it would be best to move your little one into their own room and get them settled before the new baby comes.
[00:05:59] Cate: Now, of course, I’m coming at this from a good sleep perspective, um, and something to consider when you’re deciding when to move your baby into their own room is that some babies do sleep better when they’re in their own room. So that might be a factor that helps you to decide as well. And just on that note.
[00:06:21] Cate: If you’re hoping to start some sleep coaching and improving your baby’s sleep, then a lot of parents like to do that when their baby is in their own room or just as part of moving them.
[00:06:34] Carla: Yeah, it does make sense really because the thing is with me, I had little George and he’s now seven and he was in his room, you know, right on that six month mark.
[00:06:44] Carla: I was like, right. You know, and then with Olivia, it sounds so cruel, but because she was a rainbow baby, and we tried for so long, when it came to actually a six months, I was like, I’m not ready. Seven months, not ready, not ready. And there’s nothing wrong with that, is there?
[00:06:59] Cate: No, absolutely. And I think, I think we’ve all sort of hit the six month mark and everybody thinks, right, we’ve got to do that now.
[00:07:04] Cate: Um, and actually it’s just a really personal decision and you can just go, you know, whenever you’re ready on that.
[00:07:12] Carla: Yeah, that’s it. That’s it. It’s just doing whatever you’re comfortable with and that’s the main thing. So, so how would you prepare a baby’s room for the transition if you’re thinking, right?
[00:07:23] Carla: I’m gonna do this in a couple of weeks. What can, what can you do to prepare?
[00:07:28] Cate: Okay, so, um, setting up your baby’s room is a lot of fun and Lots of parents will already have their baby’s nursery all organized. So just thinking about the things in your baby’s room, the first thing a baby’s going to need, obviously, is a cot.
[00:07:44] Cate: And again, we want to be thinking about safe sleep. So for the cot, you’re going to need a firm, flat, waterproof mattress. Now, generally it is best to have a new mattress for each baby, but I think we all know that particularly, um, in this financial climate, that’s just not always possible. If you’re going to use a second hand mattress, just make sure it’s still firm and flat.
[00:08:10] Cate: It’s in good condition, has no rips or tears, and that it’s been completely protected by a waterproof cover when it was in use. before. Um, and then as long as all those things are okay, then it’s absolutely safe to use. And then looking at what you might put in the cot, it’s not a good idea to use pillows or duvets if your baby is under a year old, um, because of the risk that they will rise up and cover the baby’s face.
[00:08:42] Cate: And then, um, an interesting one, a lot of people like to give their baby a toy or something to hold when they go to bed, but actually the safest cot for a baby is a bare, clear cot. So for safe sleep, your cot should not have any toys or comforters in it. Sorry, I know that’s, that’s very boring. Um, and you, you also shouldn’t use cot bumpers.
[00:09:06] Cate: Lullaby Trust also say that, um, you shouldn’t use products such as, um, the wedges that are designed to keep your baby in one sleeping position and that there should be no pods, nests or rolled up towels or anything soft placed on top of the mattress. Um, yeah, I know that’s all really boring, but that’s the guidance for safe sleep when you’re organising that.
[00:09:33] Cate: And then other things to have in the room. Ideally, you’ll have the changing table in the baby’s room. And if you have room for a chair, that’s a helpful thing to have. So those are the things you’re sort of starting points for setting up your baby’s room. And then I think most parents would agree that it would be good to set the room up for good sleep.
[00:09:55] Cate: So to give your baby the best chance of sleeping through the night. So extra things I like to have. I like to have a lamp in the room, um, and also a nightlight. Um, and when I say nightlight, the ones that plug into the wall socket, they’re really good. Um, just to make sure it’s nice and dim and just a word on night lights.
[00:10:16] Cate: Night lights and lamps are, are useful, especially if you’re going into your baby in the night. But we do know that babies produce more melatonin and that’s the sleep hormone that our bodies produce. They produce more melatonin if the room is very dark. So this will send the baby into a deeper sleep. So that’s worth bearing in mind.
[00:10:36] Cate: Um, a lot of babies actually sleep really well with a little nightlight on, but if your baby isn’t a good sleeper, that might be something to look at. Talking about keeping the room dark, I think that blackout blinds are absolutely indispensable. Um, you will be so glad of them in the summer. The ones that attach onto the window, I think, are the best.
[00:10:58] Cate: They black the room out best. But I’ve known babies go from waking at 5am in the summer to waking at 7am, all because we blacked out their room, so they really are worth having. So, often people have mobiles and light projectors. Now, these are great during the day, they can entertain your baby, but I wouldn’t use anything to get your baby to sleep.
[00:11:22] Cate: So, your baby needs to be able to self settle for good sleep. So, mobiles and light projectors aren’t so great at bedtime. And then going on to sleeping bags, baby sleeping bags, they are absolutely perfect. They’re lovely and safe. They keep your baby snug. Um, and for, from my perspective, they help your baby to be able to really settle themselves in the night without kicking off their blankets, which is really helpful.
[00:11:50] Cate: And then I’m a big fan of white noise machines, but they do need to run consistently. If you’re using them, so not the sort that switches off after a short while. So if you put the white noise machine on, do it before the baby goes into bed. switch it off afterwards, um, after you’ve got them up for the day.
[00:12:10] Cate: So it needs to run all night. Um, I like rain noise, just a bit sort of more natural. And just to say that heartbeats and ocean waves, um, those sounds aren’t wonderfully helpful at this age as they have sort of quiet moments on and off. Um, in the sound, we need the noise to be continuous, to be effective.
[00:12:33] Cate: So those are all things that are helpful to have in the baby’s bedroom. But above all, try to make the room environment familiar. So, for example, use the white noise in your room for a while during the night while your baby’s sleeping in with you if you plan to use it in your baby’s room so that they’re familiar with it.
[00:12:55] Carla: That’s great. No, that’s really, really good. With the white noise, does that, is there any, what, what is the whole kind of reason behind white noise? Do you know that?
[00:13:06] Cate: So, well, there’s a couple of things. It’s, it’s proven to, to send babies into a nice deep sleep. There’s talk of the fact that, um, you know, when babies are in the womb, there’s sort of this continuous sort of noise that we all hear when we go for our scan, you know, and they, they put, monitor on you.
[00:13:24] Cate: It is good. I do like a bit of white noise. The thing about it is though that you need to put your baby to bed in the way that they’re going to sleep all the way through the night. Um, and you know, yourself that in the summer, if you put the fan on and it’s running, um, and then it switches itself off when you wake up, it seems incredibly quiet in the room.
[00:13:44] Cate: Um, and with the white noise, we don’t want babies sort of waking up and kind of realizing there’s been a change because That can cause a little wobble with sleep and it can cause them to wake once they come into for a light sleep anyway. So, um, so yeah, just keep it going all night and you want it about as loud, um, as your shower is, um, I’m sure there are decibels, but you know, measuring them is always a bit tricky, so that’s a good guide to go by.
[00:14:13] Carla: Oh, that’s great. And so when it comes to settling your baby in their room, obviously, if I mean, I don’t know about anyone else, but when it came with Olivia, we barely went in a room much. So like when she was put in her own room, it was like, where the hell am I? So is there anything you can, anything you can recommend when it comes to transitioning your baby into their own room?
[00:14:39] Cate: Yeah, there is actually, and you’ve, you’ve really hit the nail on the head there, that, um, that often we, we just kind of, it’s all ready, the room’s all lovely, but you, you don’t necessarily go in there. Um, you’ve probably had your baby’s bedroom organised for a while, and I think a lot of mums do change their baby in there, um, and probably dress their baby in there, but definitely do that if you’re not already.
[00:15:02] Cate: Um, And that’s great because then it’s good to spend time in their room so that the room is familiar to them. So the best way is just to spend time in the room, spend some time playing, use the room for some daytime activities. So You might want to let your baby practice sort of tummy time or rolling on the mat in their room.
[00:15:26] Cate: And then another good one is if you can start to do their daytime naps in their room for a week or so before you move them at night, that can be a really good idea. If your baby’s a bit resistant to this, just start with one nap a day and build it up from there until you’re doing all the naps in their cot.
[00:15:45] Cate: Um, and that gets them used to their new sleep space gradually before you actually move them. Um, and then having a consistent bedtime routine is really important during this time. We know that babies are happier. and cope better when they know what’s happening next. Um, and it’s times like this that your routine comes into its own.
[00:16:09] Cate: Um, your baby will know then that it’s bedtime coming up. They’ll be ready for sleep. And that gives you the best chance for success. Um, try to carry out your baby’s routine in their bedroom. And again, consistency is everything. So if your baby hasn’t slept in a sleeping bag before, for example, then start using one a week or so before you transition them.
[00:16:36] Cate: Um, and a good time to do that, um, would be if you’re doing the naps in the room, you could pop your baby in their sleeping bag, um, just for the naps to get them used to it. So it’s all about letting them have their new experiences and building the new things into their day. And then by the time you transition them, they’ll be used to their cot.
[00:17:02] Cate: Their room, their sleeping bag, the white noise, and so on, it will all be familiar. So, on the first night in their room, there’s nothing that’s new and strange. Having said that, and you’ve kind of said it yourself, that when you moved Olivia, sometimes, you know, life is happening and you, you know, maybe you haven’t sort of really, um, you know, given it very much thought and you’re just going to move your baby and that’s fine.
[00:17:28] Cate: Um, and having said all of that, I know many babies who happily go into their new cots with no preparation and they don’t bat an eye. They are perfectly happy. Um, you as a mum know your baby best, um, and you know how well they sleep and how well they take to the changes in their little lives. So you can judge how much prep they’ll need for this.
[00:17:52] Cate: Um, so did Olivia settle down quite nicely in her new room?
[00:17:56] Carla: She did. Although actually we did have a phase of a cry, so she’d go to sleep. It was almost like she thought it was nap time. So she’d go to sleep at seven, wake up at half eight awake. Mama, Mama. What, so, uh, we had that for a little while. Um, yeah.
[00:18:14] Carla: But yeah, that, that seems to have calmed down now, thankfully. I, I don’t wanna say that out loud actually, just in case don’t jinx it. . Yeah. I don’t wanna jinx it. Um, but, you know, every baby is different and I mean, I think it’s important to remember than not to compare ourselves. And, you know, some people might say, oh, my baby’s sleeping through and mine slept through at this age.
[00:18:35] Carla: And, you know, don’t, don’t. Some people just say that. I’m sure some people just make that up sometimes. Like, I don’t, you know, I think it just, I don’t know why because, um, I knew, um, a lady and she was like, Oh, are they not sleeping through yet? It’s like, no. Oh, well she started ages ago. And I was like, Oh, and then.
[00:18:55] Carla: A few months later, I was listening to a talk to someone else and she was like, yeah, it was still up in the night. And I thought, I thought she was sleeping through. So, so I think everyone’s version of sleeping through is very different. So I just think, you know, don’t kind of compare yourself too much to other people.
[00:19:11] Carla: Um, that’s a big thing. Um, because there’s a lot of pressure, a lot of pressure as moms and dads and things to, you know, and you’re always, it’s easy to compare yourself, isn’t it? To other people sometimes.
[00:19:24] Cate: Yeah, it really is. And I think you’re right. It’s all about the definition of things. One version, uh, you know, of sleeping through might be somebody who sort of does their final feed at 10 o’clock and their baby sleeps for a good chunk.
[00:19:35] Cate: And, and actually they’re, they’re really happy with that. Um, and another. person’s version of sleeping through might be sort of seven to seven. Um, you know, so I think, and, and, you know, we all do want to, we want to speak well of our little ones. Yes, of to feel like we’re doing a good job. And I think sometimes mums say things like that and it’s almost like they’re reassuring themselves as much as, you know, anybody else.
[00:19:59] Cate: So, yeah, I think, um, I mean, the, the statistics around it are, are, you know, that so many babies are still waking in the night, even up to sort of 18 months old and, and beyond that. And, um, certainly you can have a baby. I always, I always just think with mine, you know, don’t be too smug because okay, they might be sleeping now, but next week the whole thing might be completely different.
[00:20:24] Cate: So, um, yeah.
[00:20:26] Carla: Exactly. I mean, definitely with these sleep. Sleep regressions as well. You know, there’s all of those to sail through. So, you know, there’s, there’s a chance for changes as well. So don’t kind of compare yourself too much to everybody else and just do what works for you. And I, I mean, when it comes to sleep consultants, you know, that will be something I can’t cope without sleep.
[00:20:48] Carla: You know, me and my husband would probably end up having a divorce if I did sleep. So I would have to kind of work with a sleep consultant. I think, you know, it really does. It really does help. And I think some people, um, when we ask parents, you know, Oh, I’m worried that a sleep consultant will make my baby cry out.
[00:21:05] Carla: And actually that isn’t the sleep consultants, you know, mostly work with you to do what you’re comfortable doing. And that’s how you work, isn’t it Cate?
[00:21:15] Carla: Yeah, it really is. And I think that’s, um, that’s a really good point. I mean, often it is just finding the sleep consultant that is right for you. Um, but we do have sleep consultants have a terrible rep.
[00:21:29] Carla: And I think years ago, you know, that was the whole MO, you know, that you just sort of shut the door on your baby or whatever. Um, nowadays we have much better. You know, methods and, um, and versions of the sleep support and it’s just finding the right person. So I would always recommend have a discovery call with the person that you might like to work with, um, and just ask all the questions and make sure it’s, um, you know, it’s what you’re happy with.
[00:22:00] Carla: Um, but most of us on our websites will, you know, we’ll explain that, you know, we’ve got gentle methods and, um, you know, you’ll be able to get a feel for the person, um, before you book with them. Yeah. Don’t, don’t be, don’t be afraid of it. Just have the conversation, um, and find the right person for you.
[00:22:17] Carla: Absolutely. That’s great. And then, um, I do want to just touch on co sleeping how that would work. Yeah. Uh, how, how would, how would you work? that into your kind of life?
[00:22:29] Cate: Yeah, definitely. Yeah, so because it is a little bit different if you’re co sleeping and it just seems like a really big jump to go from having a baby tucked up in bed beside you to moving them into a completely different room.
[00:22:45] Cate: So co sleeping happens for different reasons. It might be that you’re co sleeping because you really enjoy it and it works. It might just be that you’re there because that’s the best way for you to get most sleep. Or you might be a bit of a reluctant co sleeper and your baby starts with the night in their own crib, but ends up in with you sort of halfway through the night.
[00:23:08] Cate: Either way, it’s good to do all of the things that I’ve mentioned. They will help. But on top of that, for babies who only sleep in bed with mum, I would also move your baby into a crib in your room as a halfway measure to start with. So if your baby is sleeping in their crib some of the time, you needn’t worry as they are used to some sort of independence away from you.
[00:23:34] Cate: But if they aren’t used to being away from you, this is a really good idea. You just start by having the crib right next to the bed. So they’re not in bed with you, but they’re still very close. And then as the nights go on, just move them away little by little, gradually as far as you can, so that they become used to having some independence from you.
[00:23:56] Cate: And I think that’s really helpful, not just for the baby, but I think it’s helpful for mums as well, because it’s a big jump. Um, and that can help you just gradually get used to the change.
[00:24:07] Carla: That’s great advice. Yeah, that’s brilliant. Because we’re all in our own different scenarios, aren’t we, that we’re trying to work through.
[00:24:14] Carla: So thank you so much. And, um, also, would you be able to share, I mean, what we’ll do is we’ll put Cate’s Discovery link under this podcast, so you can click straight through and book that with her. Um, but could you share, um, a bit about where people can find you, if you don’t mind, Cate?
[00:24:34] Cate: Yes, absolutely. Um, so my website is peacefulnights.net. I’m on Instagram, Cate Hope Sleep Consultant, and I’m, uh, Peaceful Night, uh, Cate Hope at Peaceful Nights on Facebook. Um, but if you pop to my website, peacefulnights.net, you can book a discovery call with me, um, and we can have a chat and find out if I’m the right person for you.
[00:24:57] Carla: Oh, that’s brilliant.
[00:24:58] Carla: Thank you so much for joining us today. It’s been really useful.
[00:25:01] Cate: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thank you.
[00:25:06] Carla: Thank you for listening to today’s episode of My Bump Baby’s Expert podcast. If you would like to speak to Cate, you could click the link below this podcast. Or if you want to make contact with other sleep consultants, head to www.mybump2baby.com.
[00:25:22] Carla: My Bump 2 Baby is one of the UK’s leading parenting platforms. You can find local pregnancy to preschool groups, classes, and lessons wherever you are in the UK. Not only that, but you can read our honest reviews on the latest products, days out, and services that you as parents need to know about. We also work with trusted financial advisors, family law solicitors, and now estate agents too.
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