Many new parents get obsessed with getting enough sleep, and it’s easy to see why. You’re not getting nearly enough, and yet you have to think about it constantly as you plan for naps and pray that (just this once) you all sleep through the night.
And because infants develop rapidly in their first year, it may seem like you’ve just gotten the hang of napping and nighttime routines when your baby outgrows her bassinet.
Even while switching from a bassinet to a crib may cause sleepless nights, rest assured that everything will be OK. Here are explanations of the most common concerns parents have while considering a change.
How long should my baby sleep in a bassinet and what age should I move her to a crib?
Babies often begin their nights of sleep in their parents’ bedroom, in a bassinet or other close-by sleeper. In the middle of the night, you may soothe and feed your baby without having to stumble down the hall. It also adheres to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that infants should share a room with their parents (but not the same bed) for at least the first six months and up to a year.
There is no set rule on when a baby should stop sleeping in a bassinet. It all depends on the bassinet’s weight restriction and how quickly your baby is growing (more on that below).
No love for the bassinet? An ordinary crib is fine for a newborn’s first bed. If you’re shopping for a crib for your newborn, you should only consider options that have been approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
How can I tell it’s time to move my baby out of her bassinet and into a crib?
When to transition your infant to a crib is based on a number of factors. There are a few things to consider before making the change:
How big is your baby?
Even while bassinets and similar bedside sleepers are ideal for infants, they typically have weight restrictions. Many can support infants up to 20 pounds, although the lowest ones weigh only 10.
If you want to know how much weight yours can hold, look at the handbook or the maker’s website. It is best to transfer your baby to a crib after she reaches 15 pounds, even if you cannot locate the specific weight limit.
Does she look cramped?
Your baby may be becoming a bit too comfortable in her bassinet, even if she hasn’t quite hit the weight restriction. Don’t just set her down without checking on her first. Is she squished in there?
It may be time to give her a little extra space if she is waking up frequently (or suddenly), has trouble fitting comfortably in the bassinet, or is constantly banging her head or feet against the sides or ends.
Can your baby roll over or sit up in her bassinet?
However, as your baby grows and develops, it becomes increasingly dangerous to keep him or her in a crib or bassinet designed for newborns. Just as it is recommended to lower the mattress in a crib before a baby can sit up on their own, the same safety precaution should be taken with bassinets. Since bassinets are often shallower than cribs, a baby who is rolling or close to sitting up could easily topple over.
How do I transition my baby from sleeping in a bassinet to a crib?
Some infants may not be too bothered by the change and will continue to sleep soundly no matter where you place them. But if you’re concerned that the shift will disrupt your baby’s sleep, try these strategies for easing the transition to a crib:
Make the transition gradually. To help her adjust to sleeping there, you should put her down for daytime naps in the crib for a few weeks. The next step is to ensure that she sleeps in her crib exclusively.
Establish a regular pattern of activities to be completed before sleeping. Nighttime routines (bath, reading, snuggles, sleep) should be started immediately if they have not already been. All newborns benefit from a consistent bedtime routine, so if you do these things night after night, she will learn to associate them with going to sleep in her cot.
We are in the same room, but I have a new bed. If you want to ease your baby into sleeping in a crib, you might want to try bringing her crib into your room for a few nights before making the full transition. Later, when she’s used to sleeping in a larger area, you can put it back where it belongs.
You should go to sleep in the nursery. Your presence can also help your baby feel more comfortable with the transition to her new sleeping arrangements. It’s not recommended that you sleep in the crib with your kid (for obvious reasons), but if there’s a spare bed, couch, or air mattress in the house, consider spending a few nights there.
Stick around for a bit. Allow your baby some time to relax and get comfortable before leaving the room. It’s possible to train yourself to fall asleep in a chair. Sit down next to the crib while she drifts off to sleep, and gradually increase the distance between you over the course of the next few nights, until you can walk out of the room and she’s content on her own.
Put some ease into it. You shouldn’t put anything (including plush animals or cushions and blankets) inside the crib until your kid is 12 to 18 months old. However, you can make the room more comfortable by turning down the lights and playing some white noise.
Don’t lose sleep over packing up your baby’s belongings and moving her into her cot. Even though it may take some time to readjust, I think everyone in the household will benefit from this change. You get back your room once your kid masters sleeping elsewhere.
10 Tips To Transition Your Baby to A Crib
Transition to Crib Tip #1 – Have A Safe Sleep Space
Remember the abcs of safe sleep for babies before you even think of putting your kid in a crib. What follows will aid in her safe and restful slumber and is comprised of:
- No bumpers, pillows, or plush animals near the cot. A boring cot is a safe crib, so keep that in mind.
- Swaddling or using a sleep sack instead of a blanket at night. When Should Your Baby Start Sleeping Under a Blanket?
- The crib should have a firm mattress and fitted sheets. (Count the number of infant mattresses you have.)
- Each time you put your baby to sleep, make sure she is on her back. Once your infant rolls onto her side or stomach while sleeping, she can remain in that position.
- Absolutely no pillows, positioners, or loungers in the crib! Find out more about the sleep safety features of the Dockatot.
Transition to Crib Tip #2 – Create a Good Sleep Environment
The baby’s nursery should be designed with rest and relaxation in mind. In order to help children fall asleep, you should provide them with a relaxing and comfortable setting that includes:
- Curtains that completely block out light and sound. After the lights are out, you shouldn’t be able to make out your hand in front of your face. These drapes are top-notch examples of blackout technology.
- There are to be no wall or ceiling-mounted nightlights or other sources of artificial illumination.
- A high-quality white-noise generator that may be used round-the-clock. (In the womb, babies are exposed to a lot of white noise.)
- The ideal conditions for a baby sleep are a cool room temperature (between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit) and loose, comfortable clothing. Babies are frequently overdressed, leading to overheating. When in doubt, look at the TOG rating!
Transition to Crib Tip #3 – Swaddle Baby
Your baby is just too small to fill up such a large crib. If your baby has been sleeping in a rocking chair or bassinet, they may find this bed to be too big. Use a swaddle each night to make them feel secure and comfortable.
Babies can sleep longer when they are swaddled because it mimics the warm conditions they experienced in the womb. Plus, a baby wrapped in a burrito looks so cute!
If you think your infant hates being swaddled, try these strategies.
When your baby is ready to move on from the swaddle, a sleep sack or Zipadee-Zip can serve as a cue for sleep and a means to keep baby warm without using loose blankets.
Check out these recommended infant sleep sacks.
Transition to Crib Tip #4 – Make The Nursery Familiar
You can’t expect your kid to sleep well when she’s left in her crib alone if you never spend time with her there. Spend some time each day in the nursery cuddling, changing diapers, and playing with her.
Tummy time in the crib is another great way to show support. You might also play with her in the crib by placing some age-appropriate toys there.
By doing these things, your baby will become acclimated to the room’s environment and feel more comfortable in the crib.
Transition to Crib Tip #5 – Make the Crib Feel Like Mom
If your infant prefers to drift off to sleep in your arms, you should take steps to make the crib a more familiar place for him or her.
It may help to ease the transition by sleeping with the baby in the swaddle or pacifier for a few nights beforehand. Alternately, you can use the crib linens as your own bed before putting the infant to sleep.
Transition to Crib Tip #6 – Start A Bedtime Routine
Create a nighttime routine with your baby as you transition. The routine prepares her for bedtime and helps her wind down from a busy day. By sticking to the same routine each night, your baby will begin to link it with going to sleep.
After a bath and the last feeding of the day, you can tell your baby a story, give her some kisses goodnight, and then swaddle her for the night.
When we were kids, we really appreciated having a set schedule for going to sleep. Furthermore, it was a huge help anytime our infant was put to bed by someone other than us. Since the routine was always the same, she knew that soon enough it would be time for bed.
Transition to Crib Tip #7 – Do the Bedtime Routine in the Nursery Before you Transition
When you’re ready to make the switch to the bedroom, do the entire nighttime routine in the nursery for a few days.
If you want to spend the next three or four days in bed with your newborn, you can dress him or her in pajamas, read books, give one more feeding, and snuggle. By doing so, she can look back on her nursery with fondness and find comfort in the knowledge that she is making the right decision.
Transition to Crib Tip #8 – Choose A Sleep Training Method
If you wish to start sleep training your baby once he or she has turned four months old and is now able to sleep through the night in the crib, it is important to familiarize yourself with the various approaches to sleep training before making the switch. Whatever strategy you choose, stick to it. The more time your baby spends in the crib, the more at ease she will be in it.
Transition to Crib Tip #9 – Start With Nighttime
Many people may advise you to start putting your baby down for daytime naps in her crib right away, but I don’t think that’s a good idea!
We went in the other direction and made the change over night. This method was successful for us because, as infants overcome their day/night disorientation, the need to sleep is stronger in the evening than in the morning.
Babies typically have a stronger demand for sleep in the late afternoon and evening. You can try the transition at night if that is when your infant gets the most sleep.
Transition to Crib Tip #10 – Pause for a Minute
Moms who are on their second or third child will likely tell you that they can’t always respond quickly to their child’s cries by going into the nursery. It is normal for infants to cry briefly during sleep as they learn to link their sleep cycles. Baby crying is a sign that you should check in to see if your child actually requires your attention.
If you’re always in a hurry, that’s the way you’ll always be. Every once in a while, a minute or two is all the time it takes for our infants to calm down.
Transition to Crib Bonus Tip – Gradual Approach
Before your baby is sleeping through the night, you can begin the process of transferring him or her to a crib. At their most raucous, between the time of their 3 a.m. (about) nighttime feeding and dawn, you should begin putting them to bed in the crib.
Babies are often worn out and half-asleep at this time, so they may fall back to sleep easily in their cot. There is a window of time where you can put the baby down in the crib nightly (maybe a week or two). Add 3am-9am after a week, and then 9pm-12am the following week. They will soon be able to spend the entire night in their crib if you put them down between 6 and 7 o’clock.
Please keep us posted on how things go once your baby has made the move to her crib. You’ll feel like a new person once she moves into her own room and begins sleeping soundly through the night.
Also, keep an eye on your baby’s development and physical milestones so you can know when to shift her to a lower cot.
5 Crib Benefits For Babies & Why Are Cribs Necessary?
1. Baby Crib Safety
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to utilize a crib as their child’s primary sleeping arrangement for the first six months of life. Studies and research show that the crib is one of the safest places for infants to sleep, thus experts advise placing babies there.
The safety of the crib has also been supported by numerous studies. Children under the age of two should sleep in a crib to avoid many of the risks connected with beds, as stated in Dr. Nakamura’s Western Journal of Medicine paper titled “Are Cribs the Safest place for Infants to Sleep?” Suffocation and strangling are two of the many dangers that come with sharing a bed with an adult. The article claims that there are dangers even when a child shares a bed with an adult.
Any parent worth their salt will do anything they can to ensure their child’s safety. As a result, it’s crucial that you adhere to the safe sleeping guidelines issued by organizations like the CDC. To ensure your safety, we advise that you follow these steps:
- Place your infant to sleep on his or her back.
- Make sure to use a crib that has been authorized for safety.
- For the first six months, it is best to keep the baby’s crib in the same room as you do.
- Baby’s crib is not the place for fluffy items such as blankets, cushions, or toys. Put a fitted sheet on the bed instead.
- Keep your kid from getting too overheated. Babies should not sleep with their heads covered.
As you can see, a crib is a crucial piece of equipment for ensuring your baby’s safety while they sleep.
2. Cribs Offer Independent Sleeping
Would you prefer your child to develop a habit of sleeping independently? And if that’s the case, a crib is an essential piece of furniture in the nursery and an excellent first step in helping your child learn to fall asleep without you. If your baby is used to sleeping in a crib from birth, he or she will quickly learn to sleep independently. That way, there is no need to make the transition to a crib from your bed.
You can educate your infant to sleep through the night by following these steps. Nationwide Children’s Hospital recommends the “ABCs of safe sleep in a crib,” or “Alone, on their Back, and in a Crib,” for your newborn. Further, it is best to place the infant in the cot while he or she is quite sleepy but not yet asleep. Your infant can learn to go to sleep without you by doing this. In addition, if your child wakes up throughout the night, this routine might teach them to fall back to sleep without your assistance.
Finally, some infants are better sleepers than others. However, if your kid is placed to bed in a crib, you have a much better chance of fostering independent sleeping habits.
3. Cribs Allow You To Sleep in a Bed To Yourself
If you’re a parent, you know how nice it is to have some time to yourself every once in a while. You’ve spent all day picking up, bouncing, and toting your infant about, and by the end of the day, you’re eager to have some personal space to yourself.
You may relax on your own bed while your baby sleeps soundly in a crib, whether it’s in your room or a dedicated nursery.
4. Cribs Keep Babies Safe By Staying Put
You can baby-proof your home as much as you like, but a curious toddler will find a way to get into anything within a short period of time. The only thing you can do to keep an eye on your baby once they begin to crawl and climb is to do so constantly.
But what if your infant wakes up at five in the morning and wants to play? If your infant sleeps on a regular bed, you may not notice if they awaken during the night. However, if your infant was secured in a crib, this would never occur. Babies who are put to bed in cribs require help while getting out of the crib. This is a great advantage of using a crib for infants. So, your infant won’t be able to sneak off to potentially hazardous regions of the house.
An infant’s crib serves dual purposes as a secure sleeping space and a secure containment area. As an illustration, you may place the infant in the crib while you clean the nursery and they will be safe and secure.
5. Cribs Can Convert Into a Toddler Bed
For most children, a crib is only needed for the first two years of their lives. Then, the transition to a “big kid” bed is typically made. However, many cribs can be converted into toddler beds and full size beds, allowing you to get more use out of your initial investment. One of the greatest advantages of cribs is that they help parents save money in the long term. Putting your kid to sleep in what was once his or her crib has several advantages.
Not purchasing brand-new furniture is the first and most obvious way to cut costs. In addition, the crib’s style, color, and mattress will be all things that your baby is already comfortable with. It follows that your kid will feel at ease in their new bed. Last but not least, you can save yourself time and money by converting your crib to a toddler bed. Instead, you can make sure the crib is covered in a lovely quilt and bedding that complements the nursery’s theme and color scheme. If so, you’re good to go!
Tips When Choosing a Crib
- Pick a crib with slats that aren’t too far apart (ideally no more than 2 and 3/8 inches).
- The Consumer Product Safety Commission has banned the use of drop-side cribs due to the risk of malfunction.
- It is important to check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall database frequently before and after purchasing a crib to ensure that it has not been recalled.
Let’s get your baby sleeping!
Do you wish you had more information about getting your infant to sleep? For more information on my sleep packages and how I can be your child’s personal sleep expert and cheerleader, please contact me for a free 15-minute consultation. Schedule that call with me!