Everyone sees the pictures of the beautiful babies sound asleep in their bed. However, the picture is just that and rarely a reality. Most infants sleep beside their parents in a bassinet or cosleeper. However, they will soon reach an age when it is necessary to transition them to their crib.
It can be a hard time for baby and parents! Babies tend to sleep better when they are closer to their parents, especially to their mother. If you are used to your child being right beside your bed, then you rarely had to get up too much to comfort your baby. Breastfeeding mothers can simply nurse in bed and move their sleeping baby back to the bassinet or cosleeper.
More than likely, you have realized that this transition isn’t easy. Babies are going to be unhappy, cry more and wake up more frequently until they are used to their crib. Your child (and you) will face a few days when they are overtired and grumpy.
Don’t fret and get overwhelmed. This process is rarely easy!
There are only a few people (like my husband) that can sleep anywhere, at any time! Most people need to have certain conditions to sleep. Certain babies will sleep in their strollers, some will sleep easily in their car seats, and some will sleep easily in their cribs. More than likely, your baby doesn’t fit all of these categories. Also, some babies tend to adapt to changes much easier than others! It is all part of their personality, and it has nothing to do with you!
Why Won’t Your Baby Transition Easily?
It can be hard to understand why this process is so hard. Before we get into any tips, it is important to think about what your baby is experiencing, so you can extend empathy and understanding to your child in these following weeks.
- Their crib isn’t their norm. We all know some adults who don’t understand change Your child could be one of those people. Change is hard! If they were used to your room and hearing you sleep at night, their room with a separate sleeping space could be odd. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends keeping your baby in your room for the first six months of their life. Then, start the transition to the crib.
- They’re scared. When they wake up, they no longer see your outline or hear your breathing. They don’t smell their mother and her milk. It takes some time for their bedroom to become a place that isn’t scary. Also, around six to eight months old, babies reach the stage of separation anxiety.
- Other sleep associations stop them from sleeping. Your child may associate certain factors with sleep. They may like to be gently rocked or need their pacifier to sleep. Her bassinet may be another sleep association.
7 Tips to Make the Crib Transition Easier
1. Consistency is Key
If you decide tomorrow to stop a bad habit, changing your mind five times in two weeks isn’t going to get you anywhere closer to your goal. The same thought process is connected to getting your baby to sleep in their crib.
All babies and children thrive on a set routine. They love to know what is coming next. It makes them feel secure. One of the best things I did as a parent was set a bedtime routine with my children early in their life. Changes are made as they get older, but the similar process doesn’t change.
You may not want to include a bath with the routine; giving a bath every night isn’t advised by dermatologists. However, a bowl of warm oatmeal, a lotion massage, two or three bedtime stories and other great ideas can help your child wind down after a long day.
Getting your child to sleep in their crib will take time and persistent, but they are safe. Keep at it! Don’t give up. Simply try it again each night. In the future, it is the best thing for your child.
2. Create a Comfortable, Cozy Sleep Environment
At first, his room is going to seem scary. It is a good idea to spend time in their when he is awake. Also, as your child ages, don’t make it a place you send them when they are bad. You never want to make their bedroom connected with any bad associations.
One of the best methods is to make their crib feel as if you are there with them. Babies fall asleep quickly when in the presence of their parent. They also like to feel snug and cozy, so they love to sleep in a baby carrier or the car seat. Most prefer to drift off in their arms of their parent.
You can warm up their crib before you lay them down. A warm towel or hot water bottle will remove the chill from the sheets, making your child feel extra snuggly. Babies have an incredible sense of smell. They can smell their mother sometimes before they even see them! You can place their crib sheets in your bed with you for a few days. Other parents put a shirt or breast pad near their sleeping baby. It helps them feel secure.
Parents have great success with swaddling. If you start as a newborn, it can ease the transition to the crib. Until the age of six months old, babies have a strong Moro reflex that causes them to startle easily. It is one of the main reasons babies wake up suddenly. Swaddling decreases the chances they will startle themselves awake. They feel comfortable, snug and warm in their swaddling blanket or sack.
3. Make the Crib Seem Less Scary
As mentioned above, the AAP now recommends keeping your baby in the same room with you for the first six months of their life! One of the ways to help the transition is to introduce the crib first before moving them to a separate room. They have to learn that the crib is a safe area and it isn’t scary! When you drop them into the bed and leave, it is natural for them to feel scared out of their mind! Here are some ideas to help.
- Move their crib into your bedroom. They can see you, smell you and are still in the same room. Most babies take to this transition a lot easier than jumping to the crib in their own It breaks the move to the crib down into steps. Once he feels safe in his crib, the transition to his room will be easier, in theory.
- Sleep in his room. Instead of bringing the baby’s crib into your room, you can use an air mattress or sleeping bag to sleep on the floor near your child. Don’t climb in bed with your baby, even though that is tempting!
- Try naps Before you switch him to his crib all night, try the naps first. Once he is comfortable napping in his crib, the transition to the crib for all sleep is much easier.
- Gradually sneak out of his room. When you lay your baby in his crib, don’t just leave. The last thing you want is for your child to feel scared. Sit beside him, sing him a lullaby, and slowly move the chair out of the room. Some parents do this in one night, or each night they sit further away from the crib.
4. Give Your Baby Time
It is natural for your baby to be unhappy about the transition to the crib. When your child wakes up, you may want to rush in and get them. However, give them a few moments. They may fuss, toss and turn, or talk to themselves. All of those are methods of ways to soothe themselves back to sleep.
Babies also have a sleep cycle that they follow. Most babies do wake up a few times, and they drift back off in a minute or two. However, if you rush in because he made a peep, you interrupt the cycle. Let him try to fall back to sleep in his own bed. Remember, you made it cozy, and you are being consistent!
5. Be Tough, If You Want
Some parents are okay letting their baby cry in their cribs. There is absolutely no reason to go to any extreme. It is best to check on them every five to 15 minutes. However, it is fine if you don’t feel this method is for your baby. Our family has never resorted to crying it out, for any extended period. It depends on your child and your family.
If you opt for this method, attend to your baby at set intervals. Pat them on the bat, soothe them, but don’t turn the lights on. Parents should let their child know they are there for them, but that it is sleep time.
Remember, not all babies respond to this method. Many babies can cry for a long period without sleeping. If it lasts for longer than 20 minutes, it is best to give it up and try a different method. Your baby can create a bad association with their crib, making the transition even harder!
6. Let Someone Else Give it a Try
Parenting is hard! Sometimes, you just need a break, or you might break down in tears. When you have tried for days and days with no improvement, your partner can take over for the night. A grandparent could come over during bedtime and allow you to take a breather. Hop in the shower with grandma gets your baby to bed.
Everyone needs a break. Don’t feel like it is a bad sign or an indicator of your parenting. If you don’t have anyone available to help, it is entirely fine to lay your baby in the crib and take a shower. If they cry for a few minutes, it’s ok! You will come back refreshed and not cranky. Babies can tell when parents are in a bad mood, and it makes them feel just as stressed as we do if our spouse is upset. A break is good for everyone!
7. Relax; It Will Happen Eventually
As a mother of three kids, I can assure you that your child will eventually sleep in their crib. You don’t have to let your baby cry it out if you don’t want. Soon, this process will be a terrible memory in a bowl of fantastic ones.
It is best to be flexible and consistent. Your baby may sleep great with a particular routine that you develop over time. All it takes is one key element to making the whole thing fall right into place. Read baby books. Ask your friends what worked best for them. Read every website for new ideas. There is no shortage of ideas and solutions for parents. It is a guarantee that one of them will work. However, the best guarantee is time.
One word of advice – never make this transition during teething or a growth spurt. Your baby will face an enormous amount of changes in their first year of life. Teething is painful, and your child needs you to be there for them. Changing their sleep location isn’t a good idea during this period. If they are sick, don’t make a huge change. Also, growth spurts tend to result in a larger battle than if you selected another time frame.
Rest assured; your baby will eventually sleep in their crib. Every child grows up and sleeps in their own bed, at some point in time. Since it is impossible for you to travel to college and sleep with them, you can relax a bit. Parenting is hard enough. Don’t set expectations too high, because it will leave you feeling as if you failed as a parent. Take time, give your child as much of your patience as possible, and drink some wine after they fall asleep.