There is no set age when a baby should transition out of a next to me sleeper or bassinet. The timing will depend on the baby’s development and parents’ preferences. Many experts recommend moving baby into their own room by 6 months of age, but some parents choose to keep baby closer longer. Make the transition when you feel baby is developmentally ready and you feel comfortable with the change.
When Can Baby Transition Out of Next to Me Sleeper?
Most next to me sleepers and bassinets are designed for babies from birth to 3-6 months of age. Here are some signs your baby may be ready to transition out of the next to me sleeper and into their own crib or room:
- Baby is starting to roll over or sit up. Next to me sleepers have lower sides for easy access but aren’t as safe once baby becomes mobile.
- Baby is over the maximum weight or length limit for the product. This is usually around 15-20lbs or 30 inches.
- Baby is able to push up on hands and knees or pull to stand. Again, next to me sleepers aren’t as safe once baby can move around more.
- Baby is sleeping for longer stretches at night. If baby is consistently sleeping 5-6 hour stretches, they may not need the close proximity to nurse as frequently.
- Parents feel comfortable with baby sleeping in their own space. There’s no set timeframe – go at your own pace!
Many parents use 3-4 months as a guideline for when to transition from a next to me sleeper, but every baby is different. Make the switch based on developmental milestones, not just age.
Benefits of Moving Baby Out of Next to Me Sleeper
While keeping baby close has its advantages in the early months, there are benefits to moving them into their own crib or room eventually:
- Safety: Next to me sleepers have lowered sides for easy access but aren’t as enclosed or protected as a crib once baby becomes mobile.
- Sleep quality: Baby may sleep better in their own larger space. Parents can also transition baby into optimal sleep habits like self-soothing.
- Independence: Transition encourages baby to become more independent and develop self-soothing skills.
- Room to grow: A next to me sleeper is smaller than a crib. Moving to a crib allows baby more room to grow.
- Family sleep: Parents may sleep better with baby in their own dedicated nursery space.
- Convenience: A separate nursery provides convenience for diaper changes, feeding, etc. without disturbing parents.
The 4-6 month mark is often an ideal time to make the transition as baby becomes more alert and mobile while still adapting readily to change. But again, do what feels right for your family.
Tips for Moving Baby Out of Next to Me Sleeper
If you’re ready to help baby make the transition out of a next to me sleeper, here are some tips:
- Start putting baby down drowsy but awake during the day to practice self-soothing skills.
- Create a consistent, calming bedtime routine such as bath, pajamas, feeding, stories.
- Try moving the next to me sleeper farther from your bed for a transition period before switching rooms.
- Let baby get used to the new crib at nap time before overnight.
- Put a worn t-shirt or sheet from your bed in the crib so baby still smells your scent.
- Use white noise and familiar sleep associations to help baby adjust.
- Offer extra TLC during the day and check on baby frequently at night.
- Be patient – it may take some time for baby to adapt to the new sleep environment.
Go slowly, be consistent with routines, and provide lots of comfort to help baby through this new sleep transition.
Setting Up a Nursery
If moving baby into their own room, take time to create a safe, comforting nursery space:
- Adhere to latest safety guidelines – CPSC crib standards, no loose bedding, etc.
- Add familiarity – photos, decor from previous space, favorite blanket.
- Include white noise machine or soothing music.
- Establish day and night separation – dark for sleeping, light while awake.
- Arrange for easy nighttime access – near changing table, rocker, supplies.
- Consider convenience – accessible outlets, basket for essentials, changing pad.
- Add baby monitor and any other needed accessories.
A well-planned nursery can help baby feel comfortable and secure as they transition into their own dedicated sleep space.
How Long Can Baby Stay in Next to Me Sleeper?
Most next to me sleepers can be used safely for babies from newborn up to around 3-6 months, but there are no hard rules. Many parents choose to transition baby out around 3-4 months, but some keep baby closer longer based on preferences and baby’s development.
Signs it may be time to move out:
- Baby is rolling over or pushing up.
- Baby has reached the weight or size limit.
- Baby is sleeping through longer stretches at night.
- Baby seems too large for the compact sleeper space.
As long as safety guidelines are followed, it’s up to parents to decide when the right time is to transition based on their comfort level and baby’s needs. Do what feels right for your family.
Moving Baby to Own Room vs. Own Nursery
Around 6 months, many parents move baby out of the next to me sleeper into:
- Own room: Separate room from parents for sleeping. Some advantages are more independence for baby, privacy for parents, and added safety once baby is mobile.
- Nursery space in parents’ room: Section of parents’ room designated for baby’s crib/space. Allows baby to remain close while giving parents some privacy.
There are pros and cons to both setups:
Own room pros: More independence, lower risk of SIDS, don’t disturb each other’s sleep, room to add more furniture/decor as baby grows.
Own room cons: Farther away for night feeds, may need baby monitor, transition can be difficult.
Nursery in parents’ room pros: Baby stays close for feeds, parents can monitor easily, easier transition out of next to me sleeper.
Nursery in parents’ room cons: Parents and baby may disturb each other’s sleep, less privacy, baby monitors noise/activity.
Choose what makes both you and baby most comfortable during this new transition. You can always start with one setup and switch later if needed.
Is It Ok for Baby to Sleep in Own Room Right Away?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies sleep in the parents’ room, close to the parents’ bed for at least the first 6 months but ideally the first year, since this practice is associated with a lower risk of SIDS.
However, it’s not necessarily dangerous or harmful to move baby into their own room before 6 months if parents feel it’s the right choice for their family. Some reasons parents may choose to put baby in their own room earlier:
- Parents have trouble sleeping well with baby nearby.
- Older siblings are woken by baby’s noises.
- Smaller living space makes room sharing challenging.
- Baby has reflux and sleeps better more flat in a crib.
- Baby is sleeping long stretches at night and seems ready for independence.
If moving baby before 6 months, take precautions like:
- Use a new crib that meets current safety standards.
- Don’t use soft bedding, bumpers, or loose items in crib.
- Place crib in parents’ room for first few weeks before moving to own room.
- Use a baby monitor and check on baby frequently.
- Make sure room temperature is comfortable, not too warm.
- Give baby time to adjust to new environment.
While room sharing is recommended, in some cases moving to the nursery early may work better for everyone’s sleep and well being. Pay close attention to baby’s needs.
Helping Baby Adjust to Crib
The change from a next to me sleeper to a crib in their own room can be a big transition for baby. Here are some tips to help baby adjust:
- Maintain bedtime routine: Keep familiar rituals like bath, pajamas, stories to signal sleep time.
- Make it smell familiar: Put one of your worn t-shirts in the crib so your scent is comforting.
- Be responsive: Tend to baby promptly if they cry so they don’t feel abandoned.
- Provide comfort: Try a soothing lovey or other familiar sleep associations.
- Offer reassurance: Spend extra time playing/cuddling with baby during the day.
- Go slow: Start with naps in the crib, move to overnights gradually.
- Add white noise: Use a sound machine to drown out new noises.
Stay patient, attentive and loving to help baby embrace this new independence milestone. It may take time but they will adapt.
How to Encourage Baby to Self-Soothe
An advantage of moving baby into their own space is it encourages them to self-soothe and fall asleep more independently. Here are tips:
- Put baby down drowsy but still awake at bedtime to practice.
- Allow baby time to settle before responding to fussing.
- Avoid immediately rushing to baby when they wake or cry.
- Let baby learn to suck thumb or finger to self-soothe.
- Provide a soft lovey or blanket for comfort.
- Utilize white noise or soothing music.
- Keep bedtime routine consistent to signal winding down.
- Check on baby at increasing intervals if crying.
- Stick with methods so baby can adapt over time.
Self-soothing is a process but encourages healthy sleep habits. Stay supportive during the transition.
Getting Baby on a Sleep Schedule
An advantage of moving baby into their own space is the chance to establish healthy sleep habits and get them on an age-appropriate schedule without disrupting parents’ sleep as well. Aim for consistency:
- Set wake windows: Follow age guidelines for times baby should be awake between naps.
- Put down drowsy: Helps baby learn to fall asleep independently.
- Establish bedtime routine: Do the same activities in the same sequence nightly before bed.
- Keep consistent: Aim to stick to set nap and bedtimes.
- Limit night wakings: Gradually space out feedings/checks to allow longer sleep.
- Adjust as needed: Modify schedule as baby grows and needs change.
The more consistent parents can be, the more baby will establish healthy sleep rhythms.
How to Make the Transition Easier on Parents
The switch out of a next to me sleeper into the crib can be an emotional transition for parents too! Here are tips to make it a little easier:
- Wait until ready: Only make the move when both parents feel comfortable with the change.
- Involve older siblings: Get them excited about the “big kid” move.
- Add transitional object: Give baby a photo of you, your worn t-shirt etc. to ease separation.
- Use baby monitor: Seeing/hearing baby eases worries about being apart.
- Check frequently at first: Look in on baby often as you gain confidence in the new setup.
- Keep perspective: Remember this helps baby gain independence and skills.
- Be patient: Give everyone time to adjust to the new situation.
- Stay attentive: Provide extra snuggles and affection during this change.
Making the move to the crib is a big adjustment, but gets easier with time. Take it slow and trust in your baby’s development.
Is it bad to go straight to crib?
No, it’s not necessarily bad. The AAP recommends room sharing with baby for at least the first 6 months to lower SIDS risk. But some parents opt to move baby straight to the crib if it works better for their family, and take steps like using a monitor to mitigate risks. Do what feels right for you.
What if baby refuses to sleep in crib?
Try slowly transitioning with naps first, using familiar scents/sounds, sticking to a consistent routine, and providing extra comfort. Check for signs of illness or discomfort. Stay patient and attentive. If resistance persists, you may need to wait a bit longer before pushing the crib move.
Can I use a next to me sleeper on my bed without the side attached to bed?
Technically you can, but it won’t be as safe or stable once detached from the side anchor. A standalone next to me sleeper probably won’t meet safety standards for overnight, unsupervised sleep once baby is rolling and moving around. You’ll get more durability and stability from a standard crib at that point.
What if my partner isn’t ready for baby to move out of our room?
Have an open discussion about both your concerns. Compromise with interim steps like moving the next to me sleeper farther from your bed first. Agree on signs to look for that baby is ready for their own room. Give your partner time to adjust to the idea, but ultimately you’ll need to decide together what’s best for your family.
I’m nervous about moving baby – what should I do?
It’s normal to feel anxious! Remind yourself millions of parents have made this transition. Equip the new room with everything baby needs to feel comfortable and secure. Use a monitor for peace of mind. Start slow with naps. Frequently check on baby at first. As you gain confidence in their new independence, the separation anxiety will subside.