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Having your baby fall asleep in the car can be both a blessing and a curse. A short ride in the car may be one of the most effective methods for you to get a sleeping baby but on the other hand, you don’t want them to sleep 8 hours in there!
So while this may happen on a long journey you would be grateful but if you want them to sleep in a bed then it gets tricky as you will need to transfer them from the car seat to the bed without waking them up. – this is especially true if it’s bedtime as opposed to nap time.
Nothing is ever guaranteed to work when it comes to babies as we all know, but there are a great many things that you can do to tip things in your favour and increase your chances of a favourable outcome, in this case, it is for your baby to stay asleep during the transfer from the car seat to the bed leaving nothing for you to do but close the door and relax.
How to transfer a sleeping baby from a car to a bed in easy steps
Before the drive
- Get the bed ready – One of the biggest mistakes parents can make when trying to move a sleeping baby from the car to their bed is to not have the bed ready in advance. However, you have the baby’s room when they normally sleep in there needs to be in place ready for them, this includes making the duvet up, putting on the white noise machine or lullabies, a nightlight, blackout blinds and of course the baby camera – whatever it is. Also, ensure that if you’ve been out for a while that the heating in the room has been set correctly. A room which isn’t right could stir them up when they get there or when they finish their current sleep cycle.
- Get your baby ready – If you anticipate your baby falls asleep in the car and they’ll need transferring then take off your baby coat and shoes leaving them wearing clothes which would be comfortable and not too hot/cold to sleep in the bed with. We’d also recommend placing a baby blanket behind them as they sleep so they can be wrapped in it on their way out of the car – this can also help to protect them from any rain or wind which may blow in the short period they’re outside.
- Get yourself ready – Are you prepared for the transfer yourself? Do you know in your head the route you need to take and in what order? Where are you going to park? Who’s going to open the door? Who’s going to be the one to do the transfer? If the baby does wake up can they be rocked by both parents or do they usually need the boob? Fail to prepare, prepare to fail and all that.
- Get the car ready – A handy and often overlooked trick is to make the car mimic what their bedroom is like as much as possible. If your baby sleeps in pitch darkness (we recommend this) then invest in quality privacy screens for the car, if your baby sleeps in silence turn the radio off, if your baby sleeps with white noise put that on in the car. This means that if your baby was to stir once they get to the bedroom then they’ll realise they are still in their safe place and go back to sleep without waking. Other tips include using similar smells in the car as the bedroom.
Once you’ve arrived home
- Unbuckle them from inside the car – This will reduce the time the sleeping baby is exposed to the outside before going into the house.
- Clear a path – Park up with the door that the baby is next to faces the house, open and close the car door quietly and then open your front door so that a clear path is made from the car to the bedroom. If you need to take off your coat and shoes then now is the time to do that. Do not leave the car keys inside the ignition. Take them with you.
- Open the door quietly and slowly – If it’s windy/rainy then you can go much faster. Do not leave your door open while you do it and let the cold air in.
- Scoop them up, wrap them up and put them close to your chest – In one fluid motion, scoop them up, wrap them in the blanket you had already placed and move them close to your chest. Holding them close reduces the juddering and protects them from the environment.
- Move purposefully – Remain calm and get moving towards the bedroom at a consistent pace with the baby close to your chest still. Try and close the car door and then the front door without slamming – using your hips to bump them close is ideal. Don’t forget to close the car door – if you have remote central locking this is a cinch. If you can’t lock it just yet then as long as you don’t forget to take the keys with you you should be fine.
- Gently place them in the bed – Keep your sleeping baby close to your chest all the way until they’ve been placed in the bed gently, don’t overcomplicate things here. Place them, watch them for a couple of minutes and then quietly leave the room and go about your day.