How to Transition your Baby to a Crib
How to Transition your Baby from a Bassinet to a Crib
When Weston first came home from the hospital, we didn’t even consider putting him in his crib to sleep. Mainly because I was a lunatic and felt comfort in being able to look over and see him breathing, but also because it made breastfeeding so much easier. All I had to do was reach over and scoop him up. He slept in his Rock n’ Play right next to our bed. This thing was a lifesaver. This baby loved his Rock n’ Play, which is part of the reason I was so nervous to transition him to his crib.
EDIT: Since I orginally wrote this post, the Rock n’ Play Sleeper has been recalled. We loved the Rock n’ Play, so I totally feel for those moms that are feeling lost without it right now. Continue reading for some simple tips on how to transition your baby to a safe sleep space.
We decided that at four months, we would move him to his own room. When you decide to transition baby is totally up to you, but here are some tips on how to transition your baby (from a rock n’ play or any other sleeper) to a crib.
Start with Naps
At three months old, I started having Weston nap in his crib during the day. I figured it would be a good way to get him use to his new room and slowly transition him from his beloved rock n’ play that constantly moved back and forth. This was also right around the time that he couldn’t just fall asleep in any old place. He was officially ready for a quiet space of his own. Starting with naps also took a lot of the stress away from transitioning our baby to a crib. Because I wasn’t trying to get sleep at the same time, I could be patient and give him an extra rock or nursing session if needed. If you’re a stay at home mom, I highly recommend starting the transition slowly by utilizing nap time.
Use a Swaddle or Sleep Sack
Naps in the crib did not start well. He would fall asleep nursing and I would gently lay him down. He would instantly wake up. Unlike most babies, Weston did not like being swaddled when he first came home. We tried for the first few nights, but he would always break free. When I started having him nap in his crib, I figured, why not give it another try. It worked! I used these velcro swaddles for some peace of mind. I knew that he was capable of breaking free of a regular swaddle and I didn’t like the idea of a loose blanket in his crib. Being wrapped up in a little cocoon had him napping like a pro (3+ hours) in his crib! If you use a Rock n’ Play, you know that it nestles baby with it’s high sides and incline. Swaddling helped Weston feel like he was still being snuggled in what probably felt like a huge crib. If your baby is older, try using a sleep sack instead of a swaddle. The Zipadee-Zip and Merlin Magin Sleep Suit both have great reviews.
EDIT: I’ve also had a second baby since writing this post. He was just like his brother and didn’t like being swaddled. Shortly after he was born, a friend of mine told me about the Love to Dream Swaddle that lets them keep their arms up. The first night we tried it, he slept for 5 straight hours (which was a huge improvement for us). He absolutely loves it and so do I!
We turn on the same soothing sound every time we lay Weston down in his crib. Babies are big on sleep associations. When he hears the sound machine come on, he knows it’s time to go to sleep. The Hatch Baby is a night light and a sound machine that you can control with your phone. It also has an Ok-to-Wake setting for toddlers where you can set it to play a certain song, letting them know it’s okay to wake up. (I’m dying to know if this works).
Once we had him sleeping in his crib for both naps and overnight, we knew we wanted to set up a routine (again with the sleep associations). Babies like to know what comes next, so we do the same thing every night. Starting at 6:30pm, he breastfeeds and gets a bowl of cereal. Then, Sam takes him to his nursery to change his diaper, put on his pajamas, read a book, and sing a song. Then into the crib he goes. This routine has worked wonders for us. He knows it’s time to go to sleep and doesn’t fight it. Once we lay him down, he’s asleep within minutes. The routine has also made it nice for when he has babysitters. They follow the same steps, and Weston goes down easily.
Angel Care or Owlet Monitor
Now, let’s talk about you, mama. The transition to the crib isn’t just hard on baby, it’s hard on moms too. I was so use to looking over and seeing my baby right next to me. Moving him to a room 10 feet away made it feel like he was miles away. I didn’t sleep much that first night. I was constantly up checking the monitor to make sure he was okay. The only thing that gave me a little bit of peace was having the Angel Care monitor. Our monitor came with a motion sensor pad that you lay under the mattress. If the baby stops breathing, an alarm goes off to alert you. Having this let me rest just a little easier. I knew that if, God forbid, something went wrong, I could be in his room in a second. Our best friends had a baby a few months before us and ended up investing in the Owlet monitor for the same reason. It’s a little sock that you put on your baby’s foot that keeps track of his temperature and heart rate and alerts you if anything goes wrong. Anything that helps you rest a little easier is worth it in my book.
Update: Just after I had our second baby, I dropped the Angel Care monitor and broke it. We decided to go with the Owlet monitor because they are HSA and FSA (health savings plans) approved (meaning we could get reimbursed). We’ve been using it for a few months and love it. It’s easy to use and gives me the peace of mind I need to get a good night’s sleep. I highly recommend it, especially if you or your partner have a health savings plan through work!
No matter how hard the transition is, be consistent. Your baby will eventually catch on and everyone will get a better night’s sleep!
If you’re truly struggling with your baby’s sleep, it might be time to call in the professionals. I highly recommend Baby Sleep Made Simple. This program was created by a pediatric nurse and mom who knows a thing or two about getting babies to sleep. Her 21 day program offers four different pathways to sleep for you and your family to chose from and a 30 day money back guarantee. You can read more about Jilly and her amazing program here!
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