Why can't my baby transfer asleep from car to cot?

Kinderling News & Features

You’d be forgiven for thinking that being a parent is actually just an obsession with sleep. Indeed, after getting your baby to sleep through the night, the car-to-cot transfer has to be the second parenting #holygrail.

But just like sleeping through the night, the art of keeping your baby or toddler asleep from car to cot, is a delicate one.

Your best chance of success is doing it at night, Mothercraft nurse Chris Minogue told Kinderling.

“The reason it’s more successful at night is because babies and toddlers enter their deep night sleep phase,” says Chris.

Babies versus toddler

Age and stage are also vital considerations in weighing up the success of the transfer.

“If you have a baby under six months of age, then you will need to re-feed them to get them back to sleep (after you’ve come inside from the car.)”

Listen to the Tresillian approach to sleep on Kinderling Conversation

Parents of toddlers have an advantage here

“Toddlers are in the deepest stage of their sleep pattern in the early hours (so, 2 to 3 hours after falling asleep),” says Chris.

“You could get him out of the car and take shoes off and almost into PJs. He may jolt awake but he won’t be fully woken up. He’s awake but not awake enough to fully wake up.”

Got a 5+ hour car journey? Start in the late afternoon

Say you’re heading off on holidays with a toddler and a baby under one year; Chris recommends stalling departure till late in the afternoon, rather than the morning.

“Start around 3pm and drive for two hours. Then stop for an hour for dinner somewhere, put the kids in their PJs and start driving again. Once they’re asleep, you then have a good couple of hours to finish your journey while they are fast asleep,” says Chris.

NB: Just remember to consider the road conditions and ensure you’ve had adequate rest.