When your little one is still a newborn, you want to focus most on what’s best for them, so having a few sleepless nights doesn’t feel like a huge price to pay. After a few weeks, however, waking up every few hours begins getting old. A few months later, you’ll find yourself pretending to be asleep waiting for your partner to be the first to get up and get a bottle. Feeling well-rested is only a vague memory, and you can’t remember what it’s like not to be tired all the time. At this point you’ll be asking yourself how to get your baby to sleep in a crib on their own.
There’s some good news, however. You can get around these problems by sleep training your baby from an early age and getting them to not only sleep in their crib but stay asleep for more extended periods. Many parents make mistakes early on that encourage bad sleep hygiene in children for years to come. We can help you avoid those mistakes, so read on.
When Should My Baby Start Sleeping in a Crib?
Some babies go directly to the crib on their first night at home. They never sleep in a basket, cradle, or bassinet. However, if you’re like most parents, you had your baby sleep in a bassinet for the first few months. This way, you can keep your baby close to the bed in your bedroom because it makes it easier to tend to their needs as they wake up crying every couple of hours.
You could place a crib near your bed as well, of course, but bassinets tend to be preferred by babies as well, since they have a more womblike structure, creating a cozier and smaller space for the little one. That said, most babies are ready to start sleeping in a crib by the time they are three or four months old. By this point, they start to outgrow the bassinet.
The perfect time to try and make the switch is immediately after your little one stops waking up in the middle of the night for food. When you think it’s time, make sure to check out the best crib mattresses.
How to Transition Baby to Crib?
One way to look at your baby’s progress towards becoming a toddler and beyond is to consider it as a long period of transition, broken up by a couple of moments of relaxation here and there. During these times of peace, you and your little one can take a breath and appreciate the progress you’ve achieved.
Making a move from a bassinet to a crib is one of the more difficult transitions, and you’d do well to think of it more as a marathon than a sprint.
There aren’t many feelings that can compare to the sadness and dread you experience when you hear your child crying. Once you decide to start training your baby to sleep in a crib, they are going to let you know how they feel about it, and it’s not going to be good.
It’s hard to change your sleeping environment suddenly, even for adults, but imagine what it’s like for your little one. They’ve probably only known one bed so far in their life, and now you’re expecting them to sleep in a different one. But it must be done, and your baby will adjust. It might take a few nights if you’re lucky, or it could take a few weeks or even a couple of months. Some mattresses for kids also do a better job than others at accommodating your little one.
Once you’ve made your mind up that it’s time for your baby to sleep in a crib, you need to remain resolute and don’t take any steps backward. No matter how long it takes, don’t let yourself ruin the progress you’ve made, because you’re going to spend twice as much effort and time making up for it.
Lay the foundation
This is what we meant earlier when we said you should think of this process as more of a marathon than a sprint. Before you start putting your baby into the crib in the evening, expecting them to sleep, try to get them more comfortable with the new environment. Prepare for the transition by letting your little one nap and play in the crib during the day.
Even if they’re still too young to understand what you’re saying, it’s a good idea to use affirmative words and an excited tone when speaking about the new area. Talk about how it’s a whole bed just for them, and how comfortable they’re going to be sleeping there, even if you’re moving an infant.
The need for explanation may not be there, but babies can sense a positive tone and calm demeanor, so it will influence their behavior later on. The critical thing to remember is to try and make your little one as comfortable as possible with their new sleeping environment.
What to Do if Your Baby Won’t Sleep in Crib?
Once you get your baby into their crib and they are consistently falling asleep in there, the battle is almost over, but you’re not quite there yet. Depending on the age of your little guy or gal, you can expect some wake-up calls and issues during the night, as your baby will be looking to get you near them as much as possible. You should think about laying the foundation for this early on, just like you did with the transition itself.
As soon as possible, start a bedtime routine for your kid. This may vary, but most parents opt for a schedule of bath time, followed by a new diaper and fresh pj’s, after which you’ll want to make sure to spend some quality time with your child, engaging in cuddling, singing or reading. Another thing you’ll want to do is make a distinction between daytime and nighttime feeding. You can do this by making the daytime feeds more energetic, and the nighttime ones as low-energy as possible.
When can babies fall asleep on their own?
Learning to fall asleep on one’s own is a skill. Even though it might sound silly to an adult, it’s tough for a baby to be left alone to sleep. Their instincts are kicking in and telling them that they shouldn’t be away from their parents. And rightfully so, since they depend significantly on us for their survival. That said, your baby can safely start learning to sleep on their own at around four months.
Should you let newborns cry?
Most researchers and experts agree that letting your little one cry themselves to sleep will not have any damaging effects over the long term. A loved, well-nurtured child that gets proper care during the day will not suffer any long-term psychological damage from fussing before bed.
Should my baby be sleeping through the night?
Yes and no. First of all, it depends on how old they are, because if they are less then four months old, or less than about 16 pounds in weight, they should be getting some food in the middle of the night.
Provided that your child is older than that, they can go eight hours or more without food. The problem is they, like most adults, will probably wake up at least once during that period. Creating a soothing environment will let them fall back to sleep easier. An organic mattress could help do the trick.
Learning how to get your baby to sleep in the crib can be a difficult task, but it’s not the most challenging mountain you’ll have to climb as a parent. There are some smart steps you can take to make the transition more comfortable and more manageable for you as well as your child.
Make sure that you’re handling everything with a lot of patience, and that you’re making baby steps towards the goal. Always keeping your baby comfortable isn’t going to be possible, but try not to stray too far away from their comfort zone unnecessarily.