Moving an infant:
- First consider, do I really need to move the baby at all? I often sat in the car with Natalie as she slept. While this isn't feasible most of the time, if its a nice day out, there is no reason not to open up the car doors and get comfy with a book outside as your baby naps.
- Second consider, do I really need to move the baby out of the car seat? The reason we so rarely attempted a sleeping-baby-from-car-to-crib move was that we just allowed Natalie to sleep in the car seat.
- Reconsider using a coat. They say that heavy coats often aren't safe because they put too much space between baby and the car seat straps. So, you should look into bunting for that reason anyway. It is also really easy to use, versus struggling with a coat. But, in terms of moving a sleeping baby from outdoors to indoors, it is great. You can continue to let your child sleep in the car seat without worry of overheating. Just slowly undo the bunting zipper and you child is back to her normal clothes.
- When you maneuver the car seat inside, try to have all the doors you have to go through open. It makes for a smoother transition when you don't have to put the car seat down and pick it back up again.
- Try to walk in such a way that you block bright sunlight or strong wind from hitting baby in the face.
- The few times we did move Natalie when she was young, we did so after long car rides at night. We would go through her bed time routine before putting her in the car seat.
- Have everything ready before you start the move. A clear path to the crib. Crib rail lowered. Crib toys moved out of the way. Etc.
- Preform all parts of the move slowly, and preferably in a dark, quite room.
- If baby wakes up just a little, try putting her down anyway. This worked on at least one occasion for us. She cried at being interrupted for a couple minutes, then went right back to sleep same as normal.
- Know when to abort the mission. If baby has a soaked diaper, poop, or wakes up fully and is crying, try going through the bed routine again. Our nightmare time we tried this Natalie awoke screaming and shot diarrhea at the wall as Mike changed her. But, I nursed her and she went right back to sleep no problem.
- As children get older, moving them around in their sleep becomes easier because they become deeper sleepers. I read this somewhere, wish I could remember where so it sounds more creditable!
- Go open the door and clear a path before you get your child. (Obviously, this isn't safe to do if you have to leave your child unattended in a parking lot or on the street).
- If you have items of clothing to remove, remove or loosen as many of them as possible before lifting your child out of the car seat. I undo Natalie's shoes and unzip her coat so that I can more easily remove them as she lays her head on my shoulder. Even if you have a second person to help you, undo the coat because the zipper might otherwise wind up pressed in between you and your child.
- Don't attempt the move if you child has slept long enough for it to count as a nap. We only try to move Natalie during the day if she has slept for 10-15 minutes. Otherwise, she wake up anyway refreshed enough to not want to sleep anymore.
- Don't attempt the move if you your home is extra loud or there are unusual visitors about. Waking up even slightly to strange noises or people will probably be enough to keep your child awake.
- If Natalie wakes up a little bit, she usually snuggles right back up on my shoulder. When I have to end her hug and put her down in the crib, I just say to what I normally would at a nap time. Something like, "Time to get into your bed now."
- If she gets right up when I put her down, then I know she's probably slept long enough for now and she isn't going back to sleep yet.
We haven't attempted a night time move for over six months, simply because we deliberately don't go out or travel long trips around her bed time. I'm sure the day will come though when we have to, and I'll revise with what we learn from that event, because I'm sure we'll make some mistakes!