Does Your Baby Sleep Only in Your Lap? Tips and Tricks to Get Them to Sleep in Their Cot
Every parent knows the joy and comfort of holding their baby in their arms while they sleep. There's something incredibly soothing about the warmth and security of a baby nestled in your lap. However, as your child grows, it's essential to transition them from sleeping exclusively in your arms to a cot or crib. This transition can be challenging, but with the right approach, it's entirely possible.
My daughter took all her naps in the lap up to 6 months atleast. I was so tired and frustrated that I decided I can’t go through with it any longer. I researched quite a lot, I tried various solutions, but nothing was working.
In this blog, we'll explore why some babies prefer sleeping in their parents' laps and offer tips and tricks to help them sleep in their cot or bed.
Why Do Babies Prefer Sleeping in Your Lap?
Before we delve into the strategies for getting your baby to sleep in their cot, it's important to understand why some babies prefer sleeping in their parents' laps. Several factors contribute to this preference:
- Security and comfort: Babies find immense comfort in being close to their caregivers. The warmth, familiar scent, and rhythmic heartbeat of a parent provide a sense of security that can't be replicated in a cot.
- Transition difficulties: Moving from the womb to the outside world is a significant change for a baby. Sleeping in their parents' lap helps replicate the womb environment, which is more soothing and comforting.
- Association with sleep: Babies who have always slept in their parents' arms may have developed a strong association between falling asleep and being held. Breaking this association can be challenging.
Now, let's explore some tips and tricks to help your baby transition from sleeping in your lap to their cot.
- Gradual transition: Instead of abruptly shifting your baby to their cot, make the transition gradual. Start by putting them down in their cot for short periods during naps or bedtime, and gradually increase the time they spend in the cot.
For my baby, I started transitioning during her longest nap (which was after her massage and bath). I used to rock her to sleep, put her on the cot. She would keep waking up and I would keep repeating the process in this nap. Gradually, the down time increased from 10 minutes to half an hour to all her naps in cot! It was tough but so worth it in the end.
- Create a cozy sleep environment: Make your baby's cot as inviting as possible. Use soft, breathable bedding, a comfortable mattress, and soothing colours. A sleep-friendly environment can make the cot more appealing.
- Swaddle or use a sleep sack: Swaddling or using a sleep sack can help replicate the snug feeling of being held. This can provide comfort and a sense of security for your baby.
Patting baby’s bum slowly with a shushing sound helps a great deal too.
- Develop a bedtime routine: Establishing a consistent bedtime routine can signal to your baby that it's time to sleep. Include activities like a warm bath, a lullaby, and a bedtime story to create a calming atmosphere.
- White noise or gentle music: Some babies are soothed by white noise or soft music. Playing calming sounds in the background can help your baby fall asleep in their cot.
I had read somewhere online that shhhing (shhhhhh.. shhhh… ) sound helps replicate the sounds inside the womb for the baby. I tried it and it was a game changer. It would quickly calm my baby. My daughter is now 2 plus years and it still works like a charm.
- Maintain consistency: Consistency is key to helping your baby transition to sleeping in their cot. Try to follow the same routine for both naps and bedtime, ensuring that the sleep environment remains consistent.
Even though you might feel that your efforts are futile but hang in there, hold your ropes and one fine day, it will give you’re your desired results.
- Offer comfort from a distance: If your baby cries or becomes fussy in their cot, offer comfort from a distance. You can pat their back, speak softly, or use a pacifier to help them self-soothe.
- Be patient and responsive: Transitioning your baby to their cot may take time and patience. Be responsive to your baby's needs and adjust your approach as necessary.
It's natural for babies to seek the comfort of their parents' lap when they sleep, but eventually, they need to learn to sleep independently in their cot. By understanding the reasons behind their preference and using these tips and tricks, you can help your baby make a smooth transition to sleeping in their cot. Remember that every baby is unique, so be patient and adjust your approach to suit your child's needs. The goal is to create a safe and comfortable sleep environment that allows both you and your baby to rest peacefully.