How to Stop Co-Sleeping and Move to a Cot

5 Min Read | By Sophia Rimmer

Last Modified 3 January 2024   First Added 25 May 2023

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

As your child grows, it’s natural to consider transitioning from the cosy world of co-sleeping to a cot. This exciting phase allows your child to develop their sleep routine, fostering a sense of independence, security, and freedom. So, let’s embark on this adventure with our step-by-step guide to stopping co-sleeping, where dreamy nights and peaceful slumber await.

When is the Best Time to Stop Co-Sleeping?

This differs from child to child, so it’s important to take signals from your little one. According to advice from The Lullaby Trust, the safest place for a baby to sleep is in their own secure sleep space, such as a crib, cot or Moses basket. It is recommended that they share your room for the first six months, after which time it might be useful to start thinking about their own sleep space.

Cute baby asleep with bow in hair

Keep an eye out for signs of readiness for independent sleep, such as increased mobility or a desire for personal space. Trust your instincts and follow your child’s cues, gently guiding them towards their own bedroom space. Remember, listen to your heart along the way and create a loving transition that feels right for both of you.

Navigating the Co-Sleeping Transition

1. Start with a gentle introduction

Transitioning from co-sleeping to a cot is a gradual process that requires patience and understanding. Begin by introducing your child to the cot during daytime naps, allowing them to familiarise themselves with their new sleeping space.

Slowly increase cot sleeping time at night while offering emotional support and solace during the adjustment period. Every child is unique, so be patient and adapt the transition to their needs. Together, you’ll overcome any challenges that arise and celebrate each milestone achieved.

2. Create a safe sleep space for your little one

Ensuring a safe sleep space for your child is of utmost importance. Invest in a sturdy cot with proper safety features, such as secure railings and a firm mattress that fits snugly. Remove any potential hazards from the sleeping area, such as loose cords. Baby-proof the room by covering electrical outlets, securing furniture, and using soft bumpers to protect curious explorers. With a safe and nurturing sleep environment, you can rest assured that your little one is peacefully tucked in for the night.

3. Begin the cot adventure

Selecting the right cot is one of the secrets to making this transition simple. Next, concentrate on transforming their sleep environment into a haven of tranquillity. Add soft bedding and gentle lighting to create a soothing sanctuary.

4. Make night-time routines fun

Consistent bedtime routines can improve infant and toddler sleep. Enhance the experience with magical bedtime stories that transport your child to far-off lands and inspire their dreams. Choose books that spark their imagination and excite them for the next chapter. Add a touch of melody to the night by serenading them with soothing lullabies. And don’t forget their favourite cuddly companions, who will stand guard as they drift off to sleep.

Explore our bedtime story finder to find an excellent read for you and your bundle of joy.

5. Try transitional nights

Begin the night-time transition by having your child sleep in their bed for part of the night. Start with a few hours, gradually increasing the duration over time. Offer reassurance, cuddles, and gentle reminders that you’re nearby.

6. Celebrate each milestone

Each step towards independent sleep is a cause for celebration! Mark milestones like the first full night of sleep in their own space. These precious memories will remind you of their growth and serve as cherished mementoes of the loving bond you share.

7. Consistency is key

Be consistent with the new sleep arrangement. Encourage your child to sleep in their own bed every night. They may need time to adjust, so be patient and offer gentle guidance. If your child feels anxious or scared, provide extra reassurance.

8. Be flexible

Remember that every child is unique. Some may transition smoothly, while others may take longer. Be flexible in your approach, adjusting strategies to suit your child’s needs and temperament.

Related – What Is Baby Sleep Training & Is It Safe?

Baby fast asleep

How to Troubleshoot Co-Sleeping Sleep Hiccups

Transitions can sometimes bring sleep hiccups along the way. It’s common for children to experience sleep regressions or resistance during the cot transition. Stay calm and patient during these moments, offering reassurance and comfort. Maintain consistency with the bedtime routine and consider seeking professional advice or connecting with fellow parents who have been through similar experiences. Remember, you are not alone, and with support, you’ll navigate any sleep hurdles that come your way.

Read more – Signs of Sleep Regression in Toddlers and How to Fix It

Sweet Dreams

As your little one settles into the cot, you’ll witness the magical benefits of independent sleep. Through a cosy sleep environment and nurturing routines, you’ve created the perfect haven for your child’s independent sleep adventures.

Mum holding babies finger

When your child is ready for their first toddler bed, come back and explore our charming collection of kids’ beds. Create an inviting sanctuary that sparks their imagination.

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