TAKING CARA BABIES

How to Wean Out of Baby Sleep Products 

Cara Dumaplin, Founder

To get babies sleeping, parents use all kinds of baby products… the Rock ‘n Play, DockATot, cosleepers, and swings. Please know that the AAP does not recommend any of these products for safe sleep.  As of April 2019, Fisher Price recalled all Rock ‘n Plays. Also, the AAP does not recommend using the Rock ‘n Play under any circumstances (for babies awake or asleep).

The AAP’s official safe-sleep guidelines say that infants should always be placed on their backs for sleep on a separate, flat, and firm surface without any bumpers or loose bedding. Only products labeled as a crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard should be used for baby sleep.

At Taking Cara Babies, we know that in moments of desperation, these products can feel like your only hope if you’ve been struggling with a difficult sleeper. We understand and don’t judge you for feeling this way; we just want to help set you up for safe, healthy sleep.

So how do we transition a baby out of these sleep products?

Before the strong statement regarding the Rock ‘n Play, we provided an option for gradually weaning out of these sleep products. While a gradual weaning may take a bit longer, for some, this method felt less abrupt. Here were the steps for gradually weaning out:

  1. Place baby down in the crib/bassinet after the bedtime routine. Start with nighttime sleep (not naps) as this is when the sleep drive is highest.
  2. Allow your baby to sleep for as long as he will in the crib/bassinet. At the first waking, attempt to get him back to sleep using soothing techniques or a feeding if needed. (If you’ve taken the newborn class or “Navigating Months 3 and 4,”  use the steps outlined for night wakings.)
  3. If your baby goes back to sleep—wonderful, this is a success. If not, put him back in the DockATot, Rock ‘n Play, etc.. Each night try to get a bit longer in the crib/bassinet. Be patient as this could take some time.
  4. Focus on eliminating it just for nighttime sleep first. Once your baby is sleeping well during the night without the Rock ‘n Play, DockATot, swing, etc., then you can focus on discontinuing it for naps.
  5. If your baby is still swaddled and not yet showing signs of rolling, keep him swaddled. If your baby is still swaddled and showing signs of rolling from back to tummy, it’s also time for Transitioning Out of the Swaddle. Some parents find Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit to be helpful in calming the startle reflex. (Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit must not be used in conjunction with the DockATot, Swing, or Rock ‘n Play.)
  6. Be patient and give everyone a little grace. Transitions take time, and safe sleep is important.

The AAP and many pediatricians now advise that you must stop using these sleep products immediately. Here are the steps for weaning out all at once:

  1. Simply quit using the sleep product and put your baby in the crib/bassinet.
  2. Allow your baby to sleep for as long as she will in the crib/bassinet. At the first waking, attempt to get her back to sleep using soothing techniques or a feeding if needed. (If you’ve taken the newborn class or “Navigating Months 3 and 4,”  use the steps outlined for night wakings.)
  3. If your baby goes back to sleep—wonderful. If not, rock her back to sleep and hold her for 20 minutes until she’s in a deep sleep before placing her back in the crib/bassinet.
  4. Each night, try to get a bit longer in the crib/bassinet without the need for being rocked back to sleep.
  5. If your baby is still swaddled and not yet showing signs of rolling, keep her swaddled. If your baby is still swaddled and showing signs of rolling from back to tummy, it’s also time for Transitioning Out of the Swaddle. Some parents find Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit to be helpful in calming the startle reflex. (Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit must not be used in conjunction with the DockATot, Swing, or Rock ‘n Play.)
  6. Be patient and give everyone a little grace. Transitions take time, and safe sleep is important.

Concerned that the Rock ‘n Play is essential  because your baby has reflux? Please understand that it truly isn’t needed. You can learn more in the Reflux and Baby Sleep blog.

If coming out of a sleep product has totally derailed your great little sleeper, please know we can help. We have courses and resources that work to help you establish healthy sleep in a safe sleep environment. Taking Cara Babies balances evidenced-based scientific research with the heart of a mom.  Simply click “Products & Courses” above and select a resource based on your baby’s age.

hey there!

I'm Cara.

I’m a mom of four, neonatal nurse, and wife of a pediatrician. My passion is teaching parents how to help their babies sleep with the science of a nurse and the heart of a mama so they can reclaim the joy of parenthood.

I'm Cara.

I’m a mom of four, neonatal nurse, and wife of a pediatrician. My passion is teaching parents how to help their babies sleep with the science of a nurse and the heart of a mama so they can reclaim the joy of parenthood.

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