How To Transition Your Baby To A Crib: The Complete Guide
The first few months of your baby’s life come with so many transitions for your little one and for you as a parent! One of the big changes — learning how to transition your baby to a crib — comes when your little one outgrows their bassinet.
If making this change feels overwhelming to you, you’re not alone. Lots of parents stress over the move!
That’s why we’ve created a list of tips for how to transition your baby to the nursery and their crib. But first, let’s go over a few guidelines for when this transition should happen.
When To Transition Your Baby To Their Crib
For those of you who are still pregnant but reading up on how to care for your baby, you should know that your little one can start sleeping in a crib from day one if you prefer. There’s nothing wrong with that!
The reason bassinets and cradles are so common for the first few months is that they’re small and fit nicely in your room. This is convenient because the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep in their parents’ room (but not in the same bed) for at least the first six months.
However, it’s perfectly fine to put a mini crib (or a standard-sized crib if it fits!) in your room and let your infant sleep there from the get-go.
That being said, if your baby is currently in a bassinet, sooner or later they’ll need to make the move to their crib. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind before deciding when to do it.
Is Your Baby Too Heavy?
The first thing you’ll need to do is check the weight limit of your bassinet. Most max out between 10 and 20 pounds.
Whatever the weight limit is, once your baby reaches it, it’s time to say bye, bye, bassinet and hello, crib.
Is Your Baby Too Tall?
Some little ones will be too heavy for their bassinet before they’re too tall for it. Others might still be well under the weight limit but be so tall and long that they just don’t fit anymore!
That’s another sign that it’s time to move. If you notice your baby looking cramped, start planning their transition to the crib.
Can Your Baby Roll Over?
Regardless of whether or not your baby is too tall or too heavy for the bassinet, if they can roll over or sit up, that’s your cue to move them to their crib.
At this point, it’s no longer safe for them to sleep in their bassinet since they could fall out, tip it over, or roll over and have difficulty breathing.
With these questions, you can get an idea of when you should move your baby from bassinet to crib. Even if you think you have a few more weeks to go, it’s worth planning for what’s coming and learning how to transition your baby to a crib.
Wherever you’re at in the process, here are our tips to help it go as smoothly as possible for both you and your sweet baby!
How To Transition Your Baby To A Crib
As we mentioned, the move from bassinet to crib can be a big deal for your child, but also for you as a parent!
When you’re used to having your baby next to your bed all night, it can be quite emotional when they move to their nursery down the hall.
That’s why these tips apply to both you and your little one to create a smooth and positive transition for everyone involved!
1) Choose The Right Time
Since switching beds will already be a big enough change, plan it when nothing else is going on in your baby or family’s life.
Avoid big events or stressors — like trips or moving houses — and, if you can, don’t do it when your little one is teething or going through a sleep regression.
2) Ensure Crib Safety
If you know that your baby will be safe in their crib, you’ll have more peace of mind about the transition.
Make sure your little one will sleep on a firm, breathable mattress, like Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress. Made with our Wovenaire® Core (90% air and 10% food-grade polymer), it’s much more breathable than leading organic mattresses.
It’s also independently tested and certified for low chemical emissions according to Greenguard's Gold Standard. No toxic off-gassing here!
Other safe sleep recommendations include:
- Keeping blankets, pillows, toys, and crib bumpers out of the crib
- Putting your little one on their back to sleep
- Using a fitted crib sheet only — no additional bedding
3) Spend Time In The Nursery
In the weeks leading up to the transition, help your baby get used to being in their nursery by spending time in it. Do activities they enjoy, like playing or reading, so they have good associations with the room.
If you already have a nighttime routine going, consider switching your routine to their nursery while still putting them to sleep in the bassinet. This will also help them get used to bedtime in their own room.
4) Set Up A Video Monitor
Another way to increase your peace of mind is to set up a video monitor.
Once your baby starts sleeping in the nursery, having a video monitor allows you to keep an eye on them even while you’re downstairs or snuggled up in your own bed.
5) Make One Change At A Time
Some babies handle the transition like rockstars. Others need a little more time to adjust. Changing beds and changing rooms at the same time might be a lot for your little one!
Consider making one change at a time by putting their crib in your room for a few nights. They’ll have the familiarity of sleeping in the same room while they get used to sleeping in their crib.
Later, move their crib into the nursery.
6) Sit In The Nursery
If you want to make the transition gradual but can’t put your baby’s crib in your room, sit in the nursery with them while they doze off. Your presence may be all the familiarity they need to feel safe and calm enough to sleep.
Each night, sit a bit farther away from the crib or decrease the amount of time you sit with them until...voila! They’re falling asleep with no problem.
7) Start With Naps
Here’s another trick you can try if you think your baby will have a hard time getting used to the change: for the first couple of weeks, put them to sleep in their new crib only for naptime and let them sleep in the bassinet for bedtime.
Alternately, you could put your little one in the crib for bedtime and the bassinet for naps. Some parents think this is a good way to ease babies into it, since they’re extra tired at bedtime and more likely to fall asleep, even in a new bed.
8) Teach Them To Self-Soothe
When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, they might be confused to find that they’re in a different bed than usual!
This is one of the reasons it’s important to teach your little one how to put themselves back to sleep — without you! To help them learn to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own, don’t rock them until they’re sound asleep.
Instead, put your baby in bed when they’re drowsy but not completely snoozing. This gives them the chance to learn how to fall asleep on their own in their crib.
Another way to help them along is to start patting them instead of picking them up when they cry out in the middle of the night. Put a reassuring hand on your baby to let them know you’re there, but avoid holding them every time they fuss.
9) Stick To A Bedtime Routine
Wherever your baby is sleeping, a bedtime routine will clue them in to the fact that it’s time to wind down and go to bed.
If you and your little one are already in a groove with their bedtime routine, stick with it! It will help them as they transition into their crib.
If you don’t have a bedtime routine, implement one now — it’s not too late! Start a pre-bed ritual that includes enjoyable, calming activities, like a baby massage, putting pajamas on, reading, singing, and snuggling.
Sweet Dreams, One And All!
Learning how to transition your baby to a crib can be daunting. It’s a big deal and a significant change for the whole family, but don’t let it intimidate you!
With the right preparation, you’ll have peace of mind and your baby will feel secure and comfortable.
Start by ensuring the safety of your little one’s crib. Outfit it with a breathable mattress, like the Newton Baby Crib Mattress. Then follow the above tips: choosing the right time, making the move gradually, and teaching them to self-soothe.
Soon, both you and your little one will be sleeping safe and sound in your own rooms! Sweet dreams to all and to all a good night.