If you’re the parent of a newborn baby, you may be wondering when and how to help your baby transition to crib. When babies are first born, they are so small they can sleep just about anywhere. Many parents opt to have their little ones close at night in a bassinet or Moses basket.
However, as they grow, parents are faced with making sleep decisions. Many questions arise about where the baby will sleep.
The nursery? A sibling’s room? The master bedroom?
But before deciding which room baby will sleep in, you will likely face the challenge of transitioning your baby from a bassinet to a crib.
This change can be an intimidating change, especially if your little one is just starting to sleep through the night. We transitioned my son around 3 months (because he was too long for his bassinet). My daughter (who just turned 3 months) is still in her bassinet.
As a seasoned mom, about to make the transition for the second time, I have put together some tips for getting through this transition.
Keep reading for 7 hacks to effectively get your baby to transition to a crib!
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Transition to Crib Hack #1: Test the Waters
One of the biggest tips I can give about transitioning to a crib, is not being afraid to use it. Each of my children have spent time in their cribs getting used to the space and becoming comfortable.
I use the crib in multiple ways, in a sort of “step” system to graduating baby to sleeping in their crib, in their own room.
Transition to Crib Hack #2: Crib Awake Time
Even though they spend nighttime in the bassinet next to my bed, my babies spend some awake play time in their cribs from day one.
I use the crib as a safe place to lay my baby while I get dressed, take a shower, or while I take care of a few small things at home. For instance, when I am changing or bathing my 2-year-old, my 3-month-old spends some time in her crib.
A crib mobile or soother is a great way for a baby to spend awake, relaxed time in their bed.
Doing this made the transition to the crib MUCH easier for my son, as he was already used to his crib and it wasn’t new or intimidating to him.
Transition to Crib Hack #3: Start Slowly
Once baby starts to get a napping schedule and their sleeping patterns become somewhat routine, you can start by using the crib space for daytime naps.
During this transition, you should be sure to use the mobile or crib soother to set a relaxing atmosphere. Baby should be used to the little songs and soothing noises, and it should put them in a mind set for comfort and relaxation.
If you combine simple sleep training methods with the transition to the crib, your baby will learn to associate their crib with comfort and rest.
Transition to Crib Hack #4: Make the Crib Cozy
In some cases, your baby may fall asleep or be very sleepy in your arms but immediately wake up when you place them in their crib.
When starting your crib transition, try to consider what the crib feels like for the baby. While you would never want to include stuffed animals, pillows or blankets, to reduce the risk of suffocation, you can do things to make the crib more inviting.
Cribs can feel large, relatively cold (when compared to your body temp), and too open for baby to sleep comfortably. While some of this can be bypassed by baby being used to the crib, there are other things you can do:
- Sleeping with his/her sheets can put your scent in the bed with baby, without causing unnecessary risks of suffocation.
- Also, some parents find success by warming the bed for a while before baby is placed inside. You can use a heating pad, water bottle, or warm rice pillow to warm the sleeping area. Be sure to REMOVE it before baby is laid down to sleep.
These tips should help to reduce the shock when transitioning baby from your arms to the crib.
Transition to Crib Hack #5: Routine, Routine, Routine!
As with most things involving small children and babies, routine is your best friend here. Doing the same thing each time before sleep is the key to getting your little one ready for rest.
Whether you breastfeed, give a bottle, sing a song, etc., it doesn’t matter what the routine is, as long as you stay in routine.
I find starting sleep routines early is a KEY to sleep success and a successful transition to the crib. Once your baby starts to recognize patterns, their minds will automatically become more relaxed and ready for sleep when you start the routine.
Routines can make the change in sleep location much less jarring when transitioning to the crib.
Transition to Crib Hack #6: Soothing Sounds
One of the best things I did with my son, was purchase him a sound machine. He was always a light sleeper and I found that the white noise helped him sleep more restfully.
What I didn’t realize was that it would become part of his routine.
Like tip #5, having this as part of his sleep routine helped him get in a mindset for sleep. I actually found this not only helped in the transition from bassinet to crib, but it also helped him sleep in other areas and become more flexible.
Now that he is older, he can sleep just about anywhere as long as his routines are met, and he has his soothing rain sounds!
Transition to Crib Hack #7: Be Patient and Gracious (with yourself AND baby)
This tip cannot be stressed enough: be patient and gracious with yourself and your baby.
Don’t rush it, and try not to stress. It will only frustrate you and your baby to force an issue.
A baby will transition to their crib with time. It may not happen all at once, and it may take some time to find what works for your family.
Also, if it is stressing you out to have them in their own room, there is NO shame in keeping them nearby for a little longer. You can use a pack’n’play or set up the crib in your room temporarily to help with the transition and ease your nerves.
A good video monitor will help. And if I’m honest, I transitioned my son to his crib at 3 months, but he didn’t leave our master bedroom until he was closer to a year old.
That’s it for our 7 hacks to effectively transition baby to the crib!
By letting baby get familiar with their crib early on and doing things to make the space more comfortable and soothing, you are sure to make this transition as smooth as possible.
But at the end of the day, you know what works for you and your baby. Give yourself some grace and go with your gut!
You and baby will get through this transition just fine!
What tips or hacks have you found to be helpful to with the transition to crib for your babies? Share them in the comments!