When is the best time to move your baby to a crib? If you are lucky, your baby might show you signs.
But even if they are not ready, a smooth transition is achievable.
When To Transition Your Baby To Their Crib?
How do you know when to transition the baby to a crib? While this might seem like an easy-to-do thing, trust us when we tell you it's a bigger deal than you might realize.
Firstly, you need to determine if the time is right to transition from the baby's bassinet to their crib. Your baby will grow at an incredible exponential rate during the first few months with growth spurts if they are healthy.
Therefore if your baby has grown out of the bassinet, then it is time to make that leap from bassinet to crib transition. You do not want your baby to keep bumping into the sides of the bassinet and waking up infuriated. Some other tips that will show you when to call it quits from the bassinet are:
- Your baby has surpassed the weight limit of the bassinet.
- Your newborn has started to roll over.
- Your baby can sit in the bassinet.
- You keep on finding your little bub stuck in an uncomfortable position often.
- Your little one, all of sudden, is waking up cranky. It might mean they are not having a great time in the bassinet while sleeping.
- Your baby begins to have sleepless nights-especially at abnormal times.
- Your baby does not have at least two inches of clearance at the top and bottom of their bassinet, thus finding it hard to move.
Most babies will be ready to transition to the crib at the ages of between three months and six months. But if you find that your little tot is still sleeping peacefully in their bassinet, the time might not be suitable to put the baby in the crib.
One thing is for sure, the longer you wait to make the transition, the more resistance you will encounter with your baby. Ideally, a younger baby will be easier to transition to a crib compared to an older baby that has already gotten comfortable in their bassinet.
If you plan on moving your baby to the crib, try not to do it when or before making a significant change in the baby's environment. It might mean trying to transition while on vacation or moving into a new house.
Is Your Baby Too Heavy?
If you are planning to transition your baby to the crib, the first thing you need to check is the weight limit of your bassinet. Most bassinets max out between 15 and 35 pounds. There are also smaller bassinets with a weight limit of 15-25 pounds.
Whatever the weight your bassinet recommends, be sure to stop using a bassinet when your baby is too heavy for it.
Is Your Baby Too Tall?
Is your baby too tall for their bassinet? Is there space between his head, feet, and the bassinet walls? Pretty straightforward, right? Well, not always.
Your baby might be leaving 1-2 inches, meaning he still fits in the bassinet. But at night, he might wiggle and move around, ending in an uncomfortable position that might wake him up crying.
Therefore, though there is still space between your little one's head, feet, and the bassinet walls, beware that your baby might be telling you that the time has come to transition from the bassinet to the crib.
Can Your Baby Roll Over?
With the modern bassinets, there will be warnings if your little one can roll over on his own. Then he should no longer be sleeping in the bassinet. But how do you know that baby is rolling over? The best time to witness whether your bub is rolling over on their own would be during playtime.
If you witness a complete rollover, i.e., baby can move from back to front or front to back, it's the right time to transition baby to crib. Bassinets have relatively low walls and are specially made for babies that sleep on their backs only.
Therefore if your little one is rolling over, they can easily tip the walls of the bassinet and fall, injuring themselves.
Key Things You Need
Before you plan to transition your baby to a crib, ensure to follow the A.B.C.s of sound sleep for your baby. This will make your little one sleep better and safer.
Transitioning a baby to a crib might seem a little confusing initially, and you might beat yourself with questions revolving around the whole process. Your worry might be, "how can I make my baby more comfortable in the crib?" and "How to get baby to sleep in a crib?"
To start the process that you are worried about, The American Academy Of Pediatrics recommends that if you are to transition baby to crib, the following will help for a smooth transition:
- A crib area free from toys, pillows, blankets, bumpers, and stuffed animals; might get in the way of your baby's sleep. A boring crib is a safe crib regardless of the tossing and turning.
- A full-size crib will accommodate your little ones' growth spurts over the months. This will ensure the crib is versatile and spacious for your baby.
- A firm mattress and tight-fitting sheets inside the crib will allow your baby to sleep better and prevent aches. A soft mattress might "sink" your baby, and they might not have the strength to push away, cutting off the air supply. Getting a firm mattress will prevent your baby from moving into a dangerous position at night.
- Ensuring to place your baby down on their back to sleep each time. This is the safest position as it decreases the chances of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome ). The back-to-sleep position also allows your baby to sleep more comfortably. But once your baby is rolling in, sleep. Onto their side or stomach, he is OK to stay that way.
- The optimal sleeping environment is between 68 - 72 degrees F. Getting your little one to sleep at the right temperature will help increase their sleep quality.
How To Transition a Baby To A Crib
How to get my baby to sleep in his crib can be challenging. Babies can become attached to what they have at bedtime when falling asleep. Therefore getting him used to a different environment at nighttime will probably take time, practice, and consistency.
Moving from the bassinet to a crib will also be a big deal to you. You are also used to having your baby sleep beside your bed all night. It can be pretty emotional moving them to their nursery.
You need to set things up so the transition will be successful and smooth. Remember that falling asleep at bedtime is a skill we all learn to do, including your baby.
That said, here are some tips that will help on when to move baby to their room?
Choose The Right Time
Changing beds is a big deal, even for your little one. So, when you are getting your baby to sleep in a crib, do it when nothing else is happening in your baby's or family's life.
Avoid moving your baby when they are teething or undergoing a sleep regression. You will only make it worse for them, and you and we both know you need the eye-shut and quality zzz's.
You should also avoid trying to move your little one when the family is undergoing significant events or stressors like trips and vacations or when moving houses.
Ensure Crib Safety
Knowing that your baby will be safe in their sleep will provide you with the peace of mind that you desperately need on transition matters. There is more to crib safety than just the overall structure, mama.
It is essential that when you are checking whether the crib is safe for your baby, you consider the mattress that you will place inside the crib. Remember that this is where your baby will spend most of their time.
With the many brands promising "haven" for your little one, you might be confused about which one to choose and which is best. Find some few questions and answers that will help steer you into the best mattress for your little ones' crib:
- How firm is the mattress?
Your baby needs a firm mattress to reduce the risks of SIDS. Contradicting right? While it is easy to assume that a soft mattress would be the best for your baby, it isn't.
Soft mattresses and surfaces pose a suffocation hazard for kids under one year old.
- Will it fit perfectly in the crib?
You will need a mattress that fits perfectly well in your baby's crib. Ensure that your little one sleeps in a comfortable crib.
You should go for tight-fitting bedding for your little one's crib. Loose sheets or blankets in your baby's crib can be a strangulation or suffocation risk.
- What materials were used to create the mattress?
You will need a mattress that has been tested and certified for low chemical emissions per the given standards.
Your baby spends many hours sleeping as they are still developing. You do not want them placing their soft and delicate skin on a mattress that will harm them. It is therefore essential that you look for mattresses that are created from non-toxic materials. This will ensure that your baby will not be breathing in harmful chemicals.
The best material for your baby's mattress will be firm, breathable, and organic.
Spend Time In The Nursery
In the weeks leading to "how to transition baby to the crib," you can help your baby get used to being in their nursery by spending time in it. You do not expect your baby to start sleeping in their crib overnight instantly, right? I also didn't think so.
The transition will take some time, and the most natural way to ease it is by making the switch in stages. Do activities that your baby enjoys, like playing or reading. This will help them to have a good association with the room.
You can also opt to put your baby for short naps in their nursery, gradually proceeding to longer naps or nighttime sleep once your baby is comfortable.
If you already have an established nighttime routine, the better. Consider switching your routine to the nursery while still putting your tot down to sleep in a bassinet. It will help them become used to bedtime in their room. Stick around for a while until your little one is fully asleep, making them more comfortable.
Set Up A Video Monitor
If you're stuck on when to stop using the bassinet, setting up a video monitor might help.
A baby movement monitor will grant you peace of mind as you can quickly see how your baby is sleeping even when they are in their nursery.
You can even check on your baby on your video monitor while having some "me time."
A video monitor will also help you analyze situations before storming into your baby's room. Before rushing, you can evaluate whether your young one is just dreaming which he will eventually fall back to sleep or needs to be fed.
A modern video baby monitor will allow you to sing and talk to your baby with two-way audio. The baby won't even notice you are not in the room.
Make One Change At A Time
While some tots will transition peacefully and answer your query of "when to move baby to a crib?" Others will need a little more time to adjust to the changes without a fuss.
You can convert to making one change at a time to help them better cope with the transition situation. Try moving their crib into your room for a few nights till they are comfortable in their safe sleeping space. This will create the familiarity of sleeping in the same room while still getting used to sleeping in their crib.
You can move them into their nursery when they are OK with sleeping in their crib.
Sit In The Nursery
When moving the baby from bassinet to crib, you know that it needs to be gradual to give the both of you the emotional healing brought about by the separation.
One great tip would be to sit in the nursery until they doze off. It is also known as camping out. You have to stay in your baby's nursery to help your baby settle at the beginning of the night.
Your presence might be all the familiarity your baby needs to feel safe and calm enough to sleep. Camping out helps babies with sleep and settling problems. It might include you patting your baby's back, cuddling, or feeding them to sleep.
With every night, sit further away and reduce how much you pat or cuddle your baby. With time your baby will learn to fall asleep on their own and will not require your presence.
Start With Naps
You wouldn't just plunk your baby into a new sleeping space and expect it to all go well.
Instead, a trick you can try if your little one is not so agreeable with the transition is to start with a little nap time routine. The naptime routine should be similar to your bedtime routine but shorter.
When your baby is taking in their dose of naptime, place them in the crib, and if they have not yet outgrown their bassinet, allow them to do their nighttime still there.
Alternatively, you can decide to put your little one to sleep in their crib and use the bassinet for naps. But the bassinet should be in your baby's nursery. Remember, the idea here is to familiarize babies with their nursery.
Some parents think this is an excellent way to ease babies into transitioning since they are mainly extra tired at bedtime and therefore more likely to fall asleep even in a new bed.
Teach Your Baby To Self Soothe
When your little ones can self-soothe themselves to sleep, it's a big deal. Now you will not have to rock them, sing a lullaby, breastfeed, or bottle-feed, and your hands will not feel like they are falling out. Self-soothing is how to speed up time spent with your baby falling asleep.
But, how exactly do you teach your little one to self-soothe? Here are some tips to make the process as quick and easy as possible:
- Master the timing
- Create a bedtime routine
- If your child is old enough, more than one-year-old, you can offer a security object ( lovey)
- Consider keeping off from feeding your baby to sleep
- Try to soothe your baby in the crib instead of getting them out:
Stick to a Bedtime Routine
Doing a bedtime routine in the nursery before you transition will help your baby start thinking that sleep is coming. If you already have a working bedtime routine, stick with it as it will help your baby as they transition into their crib.
If you do not have a bedtime routine, implement one and start a pre-bed ritual that should include enjoyable calming activities like-putting P.J.s on, baby massage, or snuggling.
Brace Yourself And Be Resilient
It takes approximately about three weeks to change human behavior. And remember that you are not only changing your baby's behavior but yours too. If you become resilient and do not give in to the cooing and cries, the crib will become your baby's norm after about three weeks. And even if he has a one-off nap somewhere else, it should not set him back.
The objective is to get your little one to fall asleep alone without any help. Babies can only fuss for soo long, except for medical reasons.
Crib Sleeping Tips
Is your sweet baby staging a revolt and wants nothing to do with the nest you've carefully feathered ( his crib)? Try a few of these strategies to answer the question of "how long should baby sleep in a bassinet?"
- Use A Swaddle: you can up the snug factor by swaddling your young one from birth up to two months. The swaddle will help protect your baby against its natural startle reflex. Organic swaddle blankets are the best for babies as they are super soft and cozy.
- Place Infants On Their Back: to avoid any potential danger, always place your infant sleeping on their back.
- Use A White Noise Machine: A white noise machine helps create a calming and serene environment for your baby, thus canceling any disturbing noise from the outside or the next room.
- Check The Room Temperature: your baby's room temperature should range between 68-72 degrees F in all seasons. Remember that your baby cannot regulate their body temperature.
- Have a Safe Sleep Place: Put your baby to sleep on his back on a flat, firm surface. Repeat this every time your baby sleeps, including during naps.
- Make The Nursery Familiar: Rather than forcing your little one to sleep in the crib at nighttime, make them familiar with the crib during the daytime. You can start with short naps and then gradually proceed to more extended or nighttime sleep once your baby is comfortable.
- Make The Crib Feel Like Mom: Your newborn is good at sniffing out your scent. While the crib should be empty, you can snuggly tuck a cloth that smells like you for you tot to reach for but can't remove.
- Choose a Sleep Training Method: Make sure that your baby has been awake for an appropriate amount of time before bed. An over or under-tired baby will have trouble falling asleep. Establish also a calming bedtime routine.
- Make Sure The Crib Is Empty: one-year-old baby's crib should be completely empty, except for a fitted sheet. Anything else in the crib, including pillows and blankets, increases the risk of SIDS.
Transitioning Baby To Crib: Frequently Asked Questions
Are you stuck on "how long should baby sleep in your room? Do not be. Your baby transition can be much easier if you go through these F.A.Q.s and answers.
My baby will only sleep in my arms. How do I make this transition easier?
If your baby peacefully snoozes while in your hands and quickly wakes up when you put them down. You are not alone. Mostly this happens because your infant can feel the temperature change. Your baby finds your warmth, softness, and smell very soothing.
So, what can you do? Swaddling is a great way to ensure that your little one still feels the warmth they felt when you held them, making it easy for you to ease them into the crib.
If your little one has outgrown swaddles, then getting them a comfortable sleep slack will be significant, as it is the perfect transitional item from a swaddle.
What do I do if my child is usually up all night?
If your baby has a tough time falling asleep during the night, moving them to their crib and room can feel daunting. This will mean you will work through the night, walking back and forth between different rooms.
This is not always the case, as studies have shown that having your baby out of your room can have them sleep better at night. Your baby might be struggling to sleep at night due to:
- They may be going through a growth spurt: Growth spurts occur when infants are around 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks old, 4-6 weeks old, and 3,6 and 9 months old. Your baby will most likely have an increased appetite. If your baby is experiencing a growth spurt, you should give them a couple of days for the period to pass before attempting to transition them to their crib.
- They aren't feeling well: Timing is critical for a smooth transition. If your baby is unwell or teething, it is not the ideal time to introduce them to something unfamiliar.
My baby is still so small. Should I get a small or standard-sized crib?
You can buy whichever size crib that you prefer. But if you plan on cutting down expenses, you might want to go ahead and purchase a full-sized crib from the get-go.
With a full-sized crib, you can accommodate the many growth spurts your little one will experience.
How long will this transition process take?
Unfortunately, there is no fixed time for the transition process. Some children will sleep well on their own from day one, while others might need more time to get used to their new sleeping environment.
Is there anything wrong with co-sleeping for a while?
While co-sleeping might seem convenient for infants, it can be dangerous. You should avoid it entirely as it is one of the most common contributors to death in babies younger than three months.
If you should co-sleep, wait until your little one is a bit older, as they can better get themselves out of possible entrapment or suffocation.
At 4-6 months, your baby can go through the night without needing feeding. During this time, they might start to outgrow their bassinet. The above guide will help you move your baby to the crib.