How To Transition Your Baby To A Crib In Own Room
At some point most parents will need to transition their baby from a bassinet to a crib.
For some, this might turn out to be an easy and smooth transition, while for other parents it will be a struggle.
In our case, the twins took to their crib easily, while our singleton really did not like transitioning to his crib, until recently.
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When Should Baby Sleep In Crib In Own Room?
All of our children slept in our room until they were approximately 12 weeks old.
During this time they slept next to our bed in a Rock N Play sleeper, until we transitioned to the crib from the Rock N Play.
Unfortunately, the Rock N Play sleeper has since been recalled due to safety concerns related to SIDS.
When your baby is 3 to 6 months old, he will start to outgrow the bassinet. And, not only will he outgrow his bassinet, but he will also start breaking out of his swaddle.
During this time you will not have much choice, but to start moving your baby to a crib.
Transition Baby To Crib For Naps
So, how do you transition your baby to crib in his own room easily? Start with naps!
This 3 month old sleep schedule explains why you will have plenty of opportunities to practice with naps at this age.
During the first 6 months, naps for my twins took place in all different locations, the Pack N Play, their cribs, their car seats, bouncers, etc.
However, with our singleton, he mostly only napped in his Rock N Play and his bouncy seat.
With both of these baby sleep devices, the baby sleeps on an incline. I had totally forgotten that I used to have the twins sleep on flat surfaces on purpose. I did this because I knew they would have to eventually sleep flat in their cribs.
Additionally, with our singleton, we had 2 year old toddlers running around the house. This meant limited napping space for a newborn.
Quite often he would nap upstairs in the Rock N Play. On top of that, we did not get his room and crib ready before he was born.
We knew he would be sleeping with us for about 3 months, so we didn’t feel rushed to set it up before he was born.
Update: Since January of 2020, all inclined sleeping devices have been recalled. It is NOT recommended to have your baby sleep in any device at an incline, due to the risk of SIDS for your baby.
If I were to do it all over again, I would have had my baby’s crib and nursery ready ahead of time. That way he could have spent time napping in his crib, in his own room, earlier on.
With that being said, I highly recommend having your newborn nap in the crib as much as possible.
This way, when it is time for your baby to start sleeping in the crib at night, it will not seem like such a big change.
I will note that we did have our singleton take most of his naps in his crib from 3 months on. Even so, he still did not sleep well in his crib at night. But, he would sleep just fine in the Rock N Play sleeper at night, which had been moved into the nursery.
How To Stop Swaddling Baby
In addition to switching to a crib in a new room at 3-6 months, there is also the transition away from swaddling.
For this, I am a huge supporter of the Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit. All my kids have used it and slept well with it. It has been a great device to transition out of the swaddle.
Additionally, even though it is marketed as a swaddling transition product, I like it even better for transitioning from a bassinet to a crib.
When going from a bassinet to a crib, the sleeping space increases dramatically. This is particularly true if your baby is not swaddled anymore. It’s a huge change to your baby’s sleep.
The Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit provides a feeling of closeness that will help provide comfort to your baby in new, much larger sleeping quarters.
Sleep Training Baby In Crib
If you still cannot make your baby sleep on his or her own, you can try the cry it out method.
This is what we had to do with our singleton when he was around 6 months old. Before this age, it is not recommended to use the cry it out as a sleep training method. He also dropped his night feed at this age, so the timing felt right.
I also want to mention that I did find a blog post with advice to make a crib mimic the Rock N Play sleeper. We did try some of the the recommendations, but in our case it did not work. Additionally, I had some safety concerns and did not try everything listed.
Finally, letting our singleton cry in his crib, was not as bad of an experience as I thought it might be. After 3 nights, he was sleeping through the night, in his crib!
Every few nights we need to give him his pacifier in the middle of the night, but he goes right back to sleep without being held, so I’m not complaining.
APRIL 2018 UPDATE: It has been almost a year since we transitioned M to his crib and used the cry it out method. Ever since then, he has been an amazing sleeper, it’s almost unbelievable. If you are nervous about trying cry it out, it can make a HUGE difference for helping everyone in the house get better sleep.
How To Have A Smooth Move To The Crib
Here is a summary of the steps to explain how to transition your baby to a crib.
- Set up the nursery and crib before baby is born.
- Have your newborn sleep in his crib, for some naps, from the time you bring him home.
- Use the Baby Merlin Sleepsuit for transitioning to the crib AND to transition away from swaddling.
- Move the bassinet into the nursery and have your baby sleep in the bassinet in his or her own room for a few nights.
- If you still need help on how to get your baby to sleep through the night, and in the crib, try sleep training using the cry it out method. Just note that sleep training is only recommended if your baby is at least 6 months old.
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