Updated: Mar 11, 2020
Putting your newborn baby into a #crib is like having a huge wall with only one little picture on it. I love a good gallery wall-fill it up! A baby just looks so tiny in a big crib. Many parents start their little one out in something much smaller, like a #bassinet or a Rock N' Play if the baby doesn't like sleeping flat. Once the baby gets used to this, it can be hard to transition him into the crib when it becomes necessary because he has grown too big, starts to roll, or pulls himself up. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to ease the transition.
1. If the baby was previously sleeping in a bassinet or cosleeper right next to you, then your smell could be comforting to them during the #transition. Take a few dirty shirts (so your natural smell is on them) of yours and stuff them down in between the crib slats and mattress, all around the crib. They should not actually be in the crib with him for safety reasons, but the baby will still be near the familiar smell just as he was before. Do this for a few nights and then gradually take the shirts away once the baby has fully transitioned to the crib.
2. Spend more time near the crib or in the #nursery during the day. Early on it is common for most of the time with the baby to be spent in the parents' room or in the living spaces. The baby's room is sometimes just used for diaper changes and quick grabs of items needed. When you want to transition him into that space, it is important to get him acquainted with it first. Make it a point to play in there some during the day so it becomes a familiar space. Even if you are planning to transition to a crib in the parents' room, you can still make it a point to spend more time during the day getting him familiar with the crib itself.
3. Start off small. Try to have the baby take a nap in the crib first, then two naps, etc. Once he is more comfortable with the crib, try night sleep as well. If you were previously using something that has an inclined surface, like a Rock N' Play, start by giving him more time lying flat during the day to get him prepared for the transition.
If you're still having trouble after trying these tips, then a sleep consultant can help you work through any other issues that could be hindering the transition. If you need to sleep train as well, it is best to do sleep training and the crib transition at the same time.
When a baby gets used to one sleep space, it can be hard to transition him to a crib, especially if he's also transitioning to a new room. Try the above tips to ease the transition and get your baby sleeping happily in the crib!
~Ashley Bell, pediatric sleep consultant
*Disclaimer: Gear like a swing or Rock N' Play are not recommended for unsupervised sleep. However, many parents need to use them early on if the baby has reflux that is made worse when laid flat, or he just protests when sleeping flat. This option is safer than just holding the baby in your arms if there is a chance you could fall asleep too and relax your arms. If you do find yourself using gear of this type, it is recommended to transition your baby to a bassinet or crib sleeping space as soon as possible.