When I even mention this name, I hear a wide array of comments from new parents ranging from:
“This is the most amazing baby product since the invention of baby wipes.”
“I wish I never bought this thing. Now he won’t sleep without it.”
If you are a new mom who is active on Instagram, you’ve probably seen it.
According to DockATot’s website, it is “a multi-functional lounging, playing, chilling, resting and snuggling dock you can take anywhere.” It was originally made in Sweden as a place for a baby to sleep between two parents in their bed (a co-sleeper). In recent years, it has been esteemed globally by many new parents.
Why has it become so popular?
The DockATot has gained popularity, in my opinion, because it provides the womb-like, snug feeling that so many newborns desire in those first few months after birth. Inside the womb, newborns kick and stretch, and they gain a sense of security from the boundaries of the uterus. Many new parents often lay babies in wide-open spaces (i.e.-the bassinet or crib), but newborns long for the comfort and “squeeze” of the womb. The DockATot helps babies sleep as it takes newborns back to that familiar womb-like environment.
Is the DockATot required for The Taking Cara Babies Newborn Class?
Many parents who take the newborn sleep class “Will I Ever Sleep Again?” have babies who are sleeping 6-12 hours by 6-12 weeks without a DockATot. In fact, this class specifically aims to teach parents other methods to recreate that womb-like experience. (Learn more about this newborn sleep class HERE .) The DockATot is certainly NOT required, but it’s not forbidden either.
Honestly, I must admit that when the DockATot first gained popularity here in the States, I was very apprehensive. It looked unsafe and felt like risky crib bumpers. But… parents kept buying it, so I decided to do some research of my own.
When I contacted the company, Elena at DockATot was quite thorough in explaining the safety testing done on the product. (You can read about the safety testing HERE.)
I’m glad I kept an open mind since I’ve seen it be an extremely helpful tool for some parents. I also offer 10% off HERE for parents who want to purchase a DockATot.
As a healthcare professional, I need to inform you of some safety considerations about the DockATot:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room sharing but NOT bed sharing, so I can’t recommend using the DockATot in a parent’s bed. (Please know, however, that I will never judge a parent for their choices. See my story HERE.)
According to SIDS.org, your baby should be “Placed in a bare crib,” specifically, “The baby should be placed in a crib with no cover, pillows, bumper pads or positioning devices.” The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission agrees that, “bare is best” inside the crib or bassinet. This means nothing but the baby is to be inside the crib or bassinet.
This means that the DockATot is not to be placed in the crib or bassinet.
That’s right, the DockATot is NOT to be placed in the crib or bassinet. In other countries, outside of the United States, this product is considered acceptable for use in the crib, but in order to follow the guidelines set here in America, the DockATot must NOT be placed inside the crib or bassinet.
Additionally, DockATot’s warning label says never to put a baby inside the DockATot on a surface from which they can fall (i.e. couch, bed, ottoman, etc). This is especially important because the clip at the bottom of the DockATot is designed to release with 4.5 lbs of pressure as a safety feature to keep the baby from becoming too tightly wedged inside.
Here’s the US label on the DockATot:
So…. How and where do you use it?
Are you a bit confused? Yes, I was too. I actually called the company and asked how and where it could safely be used.
Here was the recommendation given to me by DockATot:
Take the crib mattress out of the crib and put it on the floor. Then place the DockATot on top of the mattress. This prevents a baby from rolling out of the DockATot and becoming entrapped between the crib rail and the DockAtot.
So now that we know how to safely use a DockATot, how do we wean a baby from the DockATot to a crib when the time comes?
You have a few options:
- Cold turkey.
You can simply quit using the DockATot and put your baby in the crib at bedtime. Yes, this does sound a bit abrupt, but in my experience, this seems to have the fastest results.
I recommend doing this at about five months of age when the startle reflex has settled a bit, and babies have a bit more control of those extremities.
Start by moving to the crib at bedtime (rather than naptime) first as this is when the drive to sleep is the highest. Focus on eliminating it just for nighttime sleep first. Once your baby is sleeping well through the night without the DockATot, then you can focus on discontinuing it for naps.
What if my baby is swaddled?
If your baby is swaddled, wean out of the swaddle first*. Once your baby is out of the swaddle for 4-6 nights, then you can move baby from the DockATot to the crib. (If you need help transitioning out of the swaddle, see THIS POST. Please note—Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit is NOT safe for use in the DockATot, so if you wean out of the swaddle in the DockATot, you will not be want to use this product.)
What if my baby rolls onto his belly?
Inside the DockATot, infants can’t really roll to their belly. So while in the DockATot, this is a non-issue. However, when transitioning to the crib, your little one may be testing out this newfound skill. Don’t dread it. Sometimes, infants sleep really well once they figure out how to roll and sleep in this position. If your baby rolls to his stomach and is protesting, refer to THIS POST. (Please make sure your baby is NOT swaddled with arms in as this is unsafe for a baby who can roll to her stomach.)
- Gradually Wean Out.
Some parents find that a gradual wean from the DockATot to the crib is the best answer. This may take a bit longer, but for some this method feels less abrupt. If this is your preferred method, work on coming out of the swaddle first. (See THIS POST if you need advice on how to transition out of the swaddle.)
Once your baby has transitioned out of the swaddle*, place him down in the crib after the bedtime routine. (Again, start with nighttime sleep, not naps. The sleep drive, the “force” that makes our bodies want to sleep, is highest at bedtime.)
Allow your baby to sleep for as long as he will without the DockATot. At the first waking, attempt to get him back to sleep. (If you’ve taken the newborn class, use the steps outlined on Page 6 of your booklet.) If your baby goes back to sleep—wonderful, this is a success. If not, put the baby back in the DockATot. Each night try to get a bit longer in the crib without the DockATot. Be patient as this could take a few weeks.
If coming out of the DockATot has totally derailed your great little sleeper, please know help is available. Click HERE to learn about an online sleep learning/sleep training class for babies 5-24 months.
*Please note: Babies are different. In this post, I recommend transitioning out of the swaddle before transitioning from the DockATot because the DockATot still provides some boundaries that can help to ease the swaddle transition. However, if you feel that coming out of the swaddle after the transition to the crib will be easier for your baby, that is also perfectly acceptable.
***This blog post was not featured, approved, read, or endorsed by DockATot. All opinions/advice herein are solely by Cara at Taking Cara Babies. Furthermore, this is not medical advice.
Cara Dumaplin is not a blogger. She is, however, a mom to four kids who keep her laughing daily. Although she swore she would never date a doctor, it is with joy that she admits marrying her husband, a pediatrician, was the beginning of a crazy-amazing life together. (Albeit, she has had to learn to forgive him for constantly feeding their kids Pop-Tarts for breakfast.) A registered nurse with 18 years experience, Cara’s eyes light up when she discusses her passion of educating, encouraging, and empowering new parents. Follow Taking Cara Babies on Facebook or Instagram for helpful baby sleep tips, successful infant sleep stories, and a glimpse into this chaotic, yet blessed life. For more blogs by Cara, you can click HERE.
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