You spent weeks (and probably months) prepping the nursery for your newborn but when the moment comes, this is the last place they want to sleep.
Transitioning the baby from the comfort of your arms, or bed to their crib can be challenging. You need to understand that this is something new for them and you have to make the process as seamless and as comfortable as possible.
The tips we have highlighted here might help you get your baby to sleep in the crib.
Make the change gradually
Do not expect your baby to be comfortable sleeping in the crib the first time. This is something that will take some time and you need to be patient and consistent. Start by taking them to the crib for their naps and hopefully they will develop an association with it.
If they start associating the crib as a familiar place during the day, they might find it easier to sleep in the crib at night.
One of the main reasons why babies make a fuss when you try to introduce them to the crib is the anxiety of separation. Babies and infants consider their mothers as extensions of their bodies. Later on, they become aware of their bodies and the anxiety reduces.
Picking out the right crib for your baby’s nursery can take a fair bit of consideration and shopping around. Opt for a crib that meets the most recent and strictest safety standards established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The DaVinci Jenny Lind 3-in-1 Crib is a convertible crib that meets safety standards and deserves to be in your nursery. It offer lots of bang for your buck and it’s versatile since it can be transformed into a toddler, a daybed or a full bed frame with just a few small adjustments.
Buy now: DaVinci Jenny Lind 3-in-1 Crib, $199.00, Amazon
Stick to your routine
A routine makes it easier for babies and kids to develop a pattern and makes it comfortable to transition to the crib.
For instance, if your baby sleeps at 8 pm, take them to the crib at this time. If you feed and wash your baby before bedtime, stick to this routine as well.
Consider the age of the baby
If the baby is older than four months, you can maintain some form of distance from them and the crib even when they make a fuss. If they are not comfortable, talk to them in a soothing voice or rub them gently until they drift back to sleep.
If your baby is younger than four months, lift him/her when she/he makes a fuss and then place them back gently when they calm down.
Repeat this process until they fall asleep.
Apply the Ferber method
This method is also known as graduated extinction and it is an infant sleep training program.
The program advocates for parents to leave their babies alone for a specific duration while ignoring any fuss, protests, or cries they make. Gradually, the baby will come to accept that no one will come to their aid and the fuss will die down. Maintain a healthy interval.
Get rid of anything that can harm the baby
Sudden infant disease (SID) is common for babies who sleep in cribs if their parents are not responsible.
If your baby is less than 3 months old, you can swaddle them when they are sleeping in the crib. For older babies, do not leave blankets, pillows, or pieces of clothing inside the crib. They might shock themselves with these items.
Always place your baby on their back. Sometimes they will roll over as they see fit. Keep checking on the baby now and then to make sure they are in the best sleeping posture so that you can avoid SID.
Give them a comfort item
If they have an item they have come to love (e.g. a stuffed bear), you can place this item beside them but in a way that does not pose a danger to them. The best way is to hang toys above their heads rather than beside the baby.
The Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim Mobile toy is a great toy for newborns featuring beautiful contrasting colors to help with a baby’s development. It has a simple design capturing a baby’s attention and keeping him engaged when laid in the crib. Overall it’s a great mobile to get a baby used to the crib.
Buy Now: Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim Mobile, $26.94, Amazon
Do not place strange objects in the crib as this will make the baby feel insecure. When they are disturbed, they cannot sleep peacefully.
Look out for any hazardous items such as cords, ribbons, ties, loose crib sheets, any sharp objects, or unsecured crib that can harm the baby.
Do not use anti-roll pillows as these can cause the baby to stop breathing.
Set a soothing sleep routine
A well-set soothing routine makes the baby produce hormones that enable them to sleep comfortably.
You can play a lullaby, dim the lights in the room, or read a book for the baby. Soon enough, they will start associating this routine with sleep.
Pay attention to the nursery and other small details
The temperature inside the crib may not be ideal for the baby. Maybe they are making a fuss because they are either too hot or too cold. Be careful that the baby does not sweat too much or they do not get too cold.
Instead of adding blankets into the crib, use a baby sleep sack instead to keep your little one cozy and secure. These comes in different styles and materials so choose one that’s best for the season you’re in.
There is plenty of reasons to go with Halo’s SleepSack. It is sleeveless to stop your baby from overheating, has an inverted zipper for easy diaper changes and is versatile fitting your baby as he/she grows.
Buy now: Halo SleepSack, $29.99, Amazon
Do not lay your kids down on a cold mattress. Make sure, too, that the crib mattress itself is firm, since soft mattresses raise the risk of SIDS.
You can paint your nursery in sensory, but calm colors that do not over-stimulate them. Babies should be kept away from smoke and smokers. Smoke increases the risk of SID in infants.
Hang around as the baby settles in
You can place a seat close to the crib as the baby is about to sleep. Move further gradually until you are out of the room eventually.
You can also bring the crib into your bedroom for some time. Once the toddler gets accustomed to sleeping alone in the crib, you can now move the crib to their room. The trick here is to make them become adjusted to sleeping in their own space.
Also make sure you read our Making the Move: Crib to Toddler Bed Tips post.
Break the nurse-sleep association
Many babies sleep when they are nursing. If you want to make them sleep in a crib, you have to break this association. Feed them during other times of the day but when they are feeling sleepy, just rock them until they fall asleep.
Eventually, the baby will be able to fall asleep without sucking.
Put them down when they are just about to sleep
Do not wait until they are asleep to place them in the crib. If they are asleep on your arms, they will wake up when they notice the change. Place them gently on the mattress and touch them soothingly until they sleep.