When we first set up the nursery, I envisioned my baby sleeping peacefully in his own room, and going in to see his smiling face in the morning. That’s how it’s portrayed in the movies after all, right?
The thing is, when Noah was first born, he would wake up as soon as I laid him down. I’m talking about approximately 3 seconds afterwards. For months, he co-slept with me, until we learned more about healthy sleep habits for babies. More on that in my post How I Got My Newborn to Sleep in a Bassinet
Around 5-6 months, we started having him sleep in the pack n play in our room.
But around 10 months is when we realized that we really wanted him to sleep in his own space, so that we could all rest more soundly. Plus, we could get our room back!
Here’ are some tips on transitioning your baby to the crib:
Purchase Blackout Shades – Target has amazing ones that range from $15-$25. Babies love to sleep in the dark, even during the day. It will be one of the best investments you make!
Practice Nap Time in the crib – Babies are smart. They are aware of their surroundings and know when things are familiar. If they feel safe in the pack n play, then are all of a sudden put in this foreign place without mom and dad, they probably won’t take to it too well. So get them used to being in the crib and loving their new safe space.
Lay your baby down awake – This is vital! If they fuss around for 10 mins before falling asleep, thats okay because they are learning how to soothe themselves. These skills will come in handy when they wake up in the night and try to go back to sleep. At 6 months, Noah would take anywhere from 5-15 mins to roll around and find his way to sleep. We always had a routine before nap time (and still do), so that he knows that sleep time is coming. It goes like this:
Close the blackout shades, turn sound machine on, give him a bottle while we change his diaper and lay with him while he finishes it. Then scoop him up to burp him, and lay him down to nap. I always say “It’s time to take a nap now. Mommy loves you. Sleep well” and give him a kiss on the forehead. Now, he is accustomed to this routine.
Get a baby monitor – Preferably one with video as well as audio. Position it towards the crib, so that you can see your baby and feel more at ease. This will allow you to keep an eye on him, without walking into the room and distracting him from the task at hand: Sleeping.
Place 4-6 binkys in the crib – As mentioned earlier, babies will soothe themselves during the night. This “non-nutritive sucking” helps the baby stay calm and relaxed, which ultimately helps them fall back asleep. If there is only one binky in the crib, what are the chances that your baby will find it during the night? Probably very slim. If there are many binkies, then he is more likely to reach out his arm and find one very easily. This trick was very effective during our experience!
Continue to “practice” with nap time, and then give it a go at night whenever you feel ready.
I’d love to hear what your experience has been like with this transition!
What are some strategies that you found effective?