When you are a first-time parent, your baby’s sleep is most likely a recurring topic of conversation. You might find yourself wondering things like, ‘when should I move my baby to their own room?’ or ‘how do I even begin to transition my baby to a crib?’.
The good news is, we’ve got you covered. Since transitioning your baby from a bassinet to a crib is such a massive change for everyone involved, you need all the information you can get.
In this article, get the best tips, plus all of your questions answered by one mama who has tried it all.
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The Best Tips for a Smooth Transition to the Crib
Moving your baby to their crib is a big adjustment for everyone. Your baby is sleeping on a much bigger bed in a whole new room, and you have been used to having them right next to you!
Use the following tips to have the most success during this adjustment:
Choose the Right Time
As with any change, you want to make sure you time it right. Look at your calendar and make sure your schedule will be relatively normal in the coming weeks.
For example, you should avoid times when you plan on traveling or having house guests.
On the other hand, look out for things that you can’t control. You should avoid times when your baby is teething, sick, or going through substantial developmental milestones.
Get Them Comfortable With the Nursery
With your baby sleeping in your room, chances are you don’t spend too much time in their nursery. Now’s the time to change that!
Start having fun playtime or story time in the nursery to show your baby that it’s a place that they want to spend time. You will want your baby to be familiar in their nursery, so they don’t think you are leaving them in some foreign room.
Review Safe Sleep Practices
If your baby has been sleeping in a bassinet, you have most likely already made sure it’s safe. As you get ready to transition your baby to a crib, you will want to ensure the crib is safe as well.
First, you will want to make sure that the mattress is firm and fits snuggly in the crib, leaving no gaps around the sides. We have this mattress for our son, and I love that it has a firm newborn side, and you can flip it over for a softer toddler side.
Next, you will want to make sure nothing is in the crib. Until your child is at least 12-months-old, you don’t want any blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals with your baby while they sleep.
Lastly, you will want to make sure you lay your baby down on their back to sleep.
Get Them Comfortable With the Crib
In addition to getting your little one familiar with their room, you want to get them comfortable with the crib.
An easy way to help your baby adjust to their crib is to have some playtime in there. Put your baby in the crib with some toys, and let them have some fun.
Once they show signs of being done playing, you will want to take them out of the crib before they get upset.
Start Small and Take Your Time
As I mentioned earlier, this is a substantial change for your little one. Ease them into this new idea by starting small.
A great way of starting small is to start with nap time. If your child is doing ok with napping in their crib, it will be a little easier to transition to nighttime.
Also, try not to rush things! Let’s say your baby does excellent with napping in their crib for a day or two; stick with only naptime in the crib for at least a week! This way, you will be sure that they are ready for the next big step.
Consistency is key to a lot of things in life. Moving your baby to a crib is no exception!
Some babies struggle with changes more than others. You want to make sure you are staying consistent with trying. After trying out the crib for a few days with no luck, you might need to change your approach.
For example, if you have been trying naptime in the crib and it’s not working, switch to bedtime instead! It might just be the timing that your baby doesn’t like at first.
Start a Bedtime Routine
Another helpful thing to start is a bedtime routine! If your little one knows what to expect leading up to bedtime, it might be easier for them to accept that the crib is their new bed.
Similar to a bedtime routine, you can also start a before-nap routine. Essentially, you plan the same things before naptime every day. Just be sure to stick with calming activities before a nap as you would before bedtime.
Create a Cozy Environment
Making sure your baby’s room is comfortable is crucial for a successful crib transition.
Having things like blackout curtains and a sound machine can make your little one’s room much more inviting for sleep. We use the Hatch Baby sound machine/night light, and we love it! You can customize everything how you want it, in addition to controlling it with your phone.
Another thing to keep in mind is the room’s temperature; you don’t want it too hot or too cold.
And finally, make sure you have a baby monitor. A baby monitor ensures you can hear your little one wherever you are in your home. We chose to skip the video monitor and use this traditional monitor instead. If you need help choosing a baby monitor, check out this guide!
Continue to Swaddle
If you’re still swaddling your little one at the time you decide to transition your baby to a crib, keep swaddling!
Swaddling not only helps your baby stay warm, but it also helps them feel safe and secure.
You’ll also love: What To Do When Your Baby Hates the Swaddle
Move the Crib to Your Room
I recommend this last suggestion as a last resort kind of thing.
If your child still refuses the crib after attempting all of these suggestions and staying consistent with trying, you might want to consider moving the crib to your room for a little while (if you have space).
Once you feel your baby has adjusted to sleeping in the crib while in your room, you can try moving it back to the nursery.
What makes transitioning to the crib so tricky?
Your baby might resist moving to their crib for many reasons, but most commonly, it’s because of the change in space and being away from their parents.
A crib is a much larger sleeping space than a bassinet, so your baby might not feel as safe and snug as they used to. Also, being in a completely different room is such a significant change for your little one!
Plus, your baby is used to having you right next to them. They know that if they make any noise, you are right there. It will take a few days for them to realize you still come to help them when they cry out, even if you aren’t in the same room as them.
At what age should I move my baby to a crib?
“Infants should sleep in the parents’ room, close to the parents’ bed but on a separate surface (room sharing). The infant’s crib, portable crib, play yard, or bassinet should be placed in the parent’s bedroom for at least six months but preferably a year.”According to the American Academy of Pediatrics
With this in mind, the decision is up to you. We moved our son to his crib when he was about 9-months-old. We felt like he was outgrowing the Pack’n’Play, and overall just ready for the change.
How do I know when my baby is ready to move from the bassinet to the crib?
There are three main factors to consider when you are trying to figure out the best time to stop using a bassinet.
First, consider how long your baby is. Do they look like they are running out of room? Is there enough room above your baby’s head and below their feet?
Second, you need to determine the weight limit for your bassinet. Most small bassinets have a maximum weight recommendation of 20-25 pounds. You can also choose to use something like a Pack n Play, which has weight limits closer to 30 pounds.
Third, is your baby rolling over or sitting up? Depending on the bassinet you are using, these two exciting milestones can be very dangerous if your little one is still in a bassinet.
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How long does it take to transition my baby to a crib?
The timeframe of this new change is dependent on your baby! Some babies have no problem with new changes, and it takes very little time. Other babies hate change, and it can take weeks for this change to sink in.
Just try to keep in mind that it will be fine either way, and everything will fall into place!
How do I transition my baby to a crib from my arms?
If your baby loves to sleep on you, whether for naps or at nighttime, it might be a little more tricky to move your baby to a crib.
For the longest time, our son would only take good, long naps if he was sleeping on my husband or me. After a while, you want to be able to utilize your kiddo’s naptime to do things, either for yourself or around the house!
The following steps are what worked best for me to be able to transfer my son from my arms to the crib:
When you go to lay your baby in the crib, try to keep holding them close to you as you bend over the crib and up until they are almost to the mattress.
Once you lay them on the mattress, hold your hand on their tummy so they can feel that you are still there. The little bit of weight and warmth from your hand will be soothing, and after a few seconds, you can try to leave the room.
Now, as I talked about earlier, you have to stay consistent! You might have to go back in and try laying your baby down again. If this method isn’t working for you, be sure to try for at least a week before deciding that it’s not going to stick.
What if I’m still breastfeeding at night?
It’s totally ok if you are still breastfeeding your little one in the middle of the night. The most significant change is that you will be going to a different room instead of nursing your baby in your room.
You will need to make sure that you have a space to breastfeed in your little one’s room. Other than that, when you finish breastfeeding your baby, you will just lay them back down in the crib as you would for bedtime or naptime.
What if my baby is too big for a bassinet but not ready for a crib?
If your baby is too big for their bassinet but isn’t ready for a crib, you do have another option.
When my baby was born, we used this bassinet, and it was great! When he was getting too long for that newborn bassinet, I knew we weren’t ready to move him to the crib. That’s when we got this Pack n Play.
It has a removable bassinet that is much larger than a standard bassinet. Once your baby starts rolling or sitting up, you can take off the bassinet attachment, and your little one can continue to use the regular Pack n Play to sleep in.
Also, I feel like the Pack n Play is most similar to a crib, so when you want to transition your baby to their crib, it might be a little bit easier for them.
Remember, this is a massive change for your household! By using the tips in this article, you will be better prepared for transitioning your baby to their room. In time, they will be sleeping through the night, and you will miss those days when they were sleeping right next to you!
Before you go, check out these related articles:
- The Best Board Books For Babies and Toddlers
- Everything You Need To Baby Proof Your House
- Natural Teething Remedies You Will Need!
- Easy Activities For 6-Month-Olds
- The Ultimate Guide For Dropping the Swaddle
Did you recently transition your baby to their crib? I would love to know how that went for you in the comments below!