For many parents, there comes a time where they are ready to move their baby from the bassinet in their bedroom to the crib in the nursery. This moment may come when the baby is a few days old, a few weeks old, or a few months old. There is no right or wrong time to move the baby into the crib in the nursery, and each family will choose a time that feels best for their personal situation.
If you are at this pivotal moment on your parenthood journey, you may feel anxious or nervous about the transition.
Don't worry — almost every other parent has felt the same way — and these tips can help you make the move easy and peaceful.
Crib Training Tips and Techniques
- Get the baby close to you at night. Prior to making the transition, move the baby's crib from the nursery into your room. According to What to Expect.com, this will allow your baby to adjust to sleeping in the larger crib while he still feels safe and secure in your room. After a few days or a few weeks, your baby will likely be sleeping soundly and comfortably in his crib. Then, you can move the crib back into the nursery and allow your baby to enjoy his first night's sleep in his new room.
- Start with naptimes in the crib. You can also help your baby adjust to his new room by putting him in his crib for his daytime naps. This is a shorter sleep period where he may feel more comfortable in the new environment. Once he is taking regular, consistent naps in his crib, you can have him sleep overnight in it.
- Keep the transition happy. Introduce your baby to his new room during a happy time, such as playtime. The Baby Sleep Site notes that your baby will begin to associate the room with good feelings and positive experiences. He will become comfortable and familiar with it, and will not feel so alone and scared when you move him into his room for naps and bedtime.
- Spend the night with your baby. On the first night that your baby is sleeping in his crib in the nursery, make an effort to spend the night in the room. Either move a twin bed into the room or sleep on a chair near the crib. Your presence will make your baby feel more secure and safe — he will know that you are there if he needs you. Gradually spend less time in the room at night, and before you know it, your baby will be sleeping soundly by himself.
- Consider some bedtime rituals. Establish a bedtime routine that will help your baby wind down at the end of the evening, and understand that it's time for bed. Your routine can include whatever works best for you and your family. Activities to incorporate into the bedroom routine include a warm bath, reading books, bedtime songs or gentle rocking in the glider. Allow your baby to fall asleep on his own in the crib, as this will help him learn to sleep through the night.
- Provide your baby with a comfort item. You may want to consider purchasing a stuffed animal or blanket that can be safely left in the crib overnight. Prior to introducing it to your baby, sleep with it in your bed. This will allow you to leave your scent on the item, and your baby will be instantly comforted by it. Give it to your baby once he is in the crib, and let him snuggle with it. This can help him feel less stressed about the big changes he’s experiencing.
As with any transition during infancy and childhood, it's important to be patient. The first night your baby spends in his crib may not be filled with restful slumber — for either of you. Though as each night passes, it will slowly get better. Soon, going to sleep in the crib will be the event that your baby expects, and he will enjoy comfort and solace in the special nursery that you created for him. If you are continuing to struggle, know that you can contact your baby's pediatrician for more tips and advice regarding your unique situation.