About a month ago, we left our DockATot behind at grandpa’s house… this, of course, was a complete accident. My baby had been sleeping 12 hours every night from the time she was 11 weeks old (find out how to master this here) that is UNTIL this one terrible night that mommy and daddy forgot the DockATot. The morning after this incident, I realized we had a problem. I am all for a great tool, but when it becomes a crutch I get a little nervous. So I started frantically researching tips on how to transition baby from the DockATot to crib, and I really couldn’t find much! I was still determined to make this a seamless transition, so I compiled a list of tricks and devised a plan to wean baby off the DockATot and into her bare crib. This post is dedicated to other frantic parents out there who are looking for a way to painlessly transition baby from cosleeping to crib with a DockATot. No sleepless nights. No tears. Just happy babes and happy parents.
I will admit, the first time I heard of the DockATot, I did an eye roll. The baby industry is just bananas… why would anyone spend nearly $200 on an oversized pillow? Despite hearing a zillion testimonials about how amazing they were, I was still too skeptical to put one on my baby registry. A few weeks before my due date, I was perusing the Target clearance shelves in the baby department where there was a DockATot Deluxe that someone had returned from online (I don’t believe Target carries them in-store). The rave reviews got the best of me and I had a handful of gift cards to use from my baby shower, so I figured I would buy it to have on hand and just return it if I didn’t use it. I now look back on this as one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I’ll explain….
Without mincing words… the DockATot is freaking amazing. It has served as a sleep training tool, portable sleep space for nap time and sleepovers, play mat, safe place to put baby when my hands are full, counter top baby dock – I could go on. We’ve taken it to friends houses, grandma and grandpas, church, on the boat… pretty much everywhere the baby has been and it’s been a life saver every time. You can find this little piece of gold here.
Therein lies the problem. We had developed a dependency on the glorious DockATot, and baby was dangerously close to outgrowing it.
Now that she’s getting old enough that she’s close to being able to sit up on her own, I’m not as concerned about most of the uses. DockATot does make a larger version, the DockATot Grand, which I will probably purchase in the near future.. but again, I want it to be a tool, not a crutch. BUT my child has been sleeping twelve straight hours every night since she was eleven weeks old, and that is a luxury I am not willing to forego (I will talk more about my magical sleep training technique in another post). A few weeks ago, we were visiting grandparents and we made the mistake of leaving the Dock-a-Tot behind…. Lord have mercy. We were up once every hour for the entire night. At this point we realized that cold turkey was definitely not an option, and we would need to wean baby off of the Dock-a-Tot before she completely grew out of it. So I started the journey to transitioning baby to her (almost) bare crib immediately the next morning. Here is how I seamlessly transitioned my baby from Dock-a-Tot to bare crib in just a few days:
I will start by saying that DockATot doesn’t recommend this practice (probably for liability purposes), so do this AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION. At this point, my baby wasn’t able to get out of the DockATot on her own so I wasn’t concerned about her safety. If your baby is already rolling out of the DockATot, I might skip this step. Before this, we had baby in our room in her Rock ’n Play, and it was a pretty seamless transition to the DockAtot in her crib. Side note – IMO this makes the DockAtot an incredible tool to transition baby from cosleeping/sleeping in your room to sleeping on her own in her crib.
2. I purchased a breathable crib bumper:
This is to make baby feel cozier in the crib. Going from being surrounded by a big snuggly pillow to just floating in the middle of a wooden box would make me feel a little vulnerable too. The crib bumper makes the transition a little bit more comfortable for baby emotionally, as well as keeps those little arms and legs from getting stuck between the crib bars. I used the BreathableBaby Ultra Luxe Mesh Crib Liner, which you can find here. This one is great because it has a little more padding than most breathable crib bumpers, so it’s a cozier feel for baby.
3. I made sure all naps were taken in the crib, with no DockATot:
In my opinion, it’s much better to test the waters at 2 in the afternoon when I’m folding laundry than at 3am when hubby and I are fast asleep. There were a few times where I had to go in and comfort her or give her a pacifier, but she adjusted to nap time pretty quickly.
4. I placed baby near or against the crib bars:
I’ve read that babies have a great sense of proximity. When I put her in the crib, I would place her back up against the crib bumper to create a snuggly feeling similar to what the DockATot offers. Most of the time, she would roll around in her sleep and move from her original position, but I found that she almost always would end up cozying up along the crib bumper in one way or another.
5. And finally, I pulled the DockATot:
After a few days to a week of weaning baby off of the DockATot, I felt we were ready to pull it at nighttime. Just a few days of transition made a WORLD of difference. No waking up every hour, and she is back to her twelve-hour-nightly-uninterrupted-sleep-marathon. YAY!
Again, these are the steps I used to transition/wean my baby from sleeping in the DockATot to sleeping soundly in her bare crib. Every baby is different, and what worked for us may not work for everyone but it’s certainly worth a shot! DISCLAIMER: check with your pediatrician, as some might recommend refraining from using a crib bumper/DockATot in the crib/etc.
I hope this helps! Stay tuned for more posts on baby sleep training, and thanks for reading! 🙂
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