How To Transition Your Infant To A Crib
Once your baby is born, you may be asking yourself how and when you should transition them to the crib. Child Sleep Expert, Mary Cantwell of Rest Your Nest has the answers!
There are many schools of thought and advice (solicited and unsolicited) on when your newborn should sleep in their crib. The fact is, that it is a personal family choice and should not be governed by what anyone else thinks. However, before you make your decision, it’s important to understand the sleep safety guidelines for your baby’s first year as recommended by the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP).
The AAP recommends that:
- Baby shares a room with the parents for the first six months (or up to a year ideally), in a separate sleep area (such as a crib, bassinet, pack and play or side sleeper) with a firm sleep surface and a tight fitting sheet
- No items such as toys, crib bumpers, pillows, blankets or anything else should cover their heads
- Baby should be dressed in light sleep clothing (such as a bamboo onesie and sleepsack) and placed on their back for sleep
Many parents opt to have their baby sleep in a bassinet in their bedroom for the first few weeks or months. While every situation will differ, I’ve found that around six to eight weeks of age is a great time to gradually introduce your baby to the new crib environment. To make the transition as smooth and safe as possible, I’ve listed my tips below!
Tips on transitioning your baby into a crib
#1 Create an environment that’s conducive to sleep
- The room should be cool (between 68 – 72 degrees) and dark (black out shades are perfect for keeping the room dark) which helps to promote melatonin production.
- A white noise machine like the Baby Shusher is recommended as it replicates the noises heard in utero and it also drowns out external noises.
- To help with feeding or nursing during the night, a red, orange or yellow nightlight is recommended which helps to promote melatonin production. Avoid blue or green light which actually suppresses melatonin.
#2 Dress your baby in breathable clothing and a wearable blanket that can’t be kicked off
As a rule of thumb, babies need one extra layer of clothing than adults to help regulate their temperature. Because they have such sensitive skin and delicate respiratory systems, they also need to be dressed in fabrics like organic cotton or bamboo that is breathable, soft and free of harmful chemicals like pesticides.
It’s no secrete that babies tend to wriggle and worm, I suggest using the Halo Organic Wearable Sleepsack.
#3 Develop a sleep routine
It doesn’t matter if your baby is sleeping in our out of your room, a sleep routine will ultimately be the foundation for successfully transitioning them to the larger crib.
A couple of examples of a soothing routine include:
- Lowering the lights when bringing baby into the room
- Dimming the lights to change a diaper just before bed
- Putting on their swaddle, turning the lights off, rocking, shushing and then putting them into a separate sleep area to fall asleep
Remember this is a cue that we have moved from an “awake” state to a “sleep” state and not a means to sleep. When putting your baby down for a sleep, do your best to make sure they are drowsy but awake so they can practice completing sleep independently. If they can’t do this then we step in and help them transition into sleep.
#4 Introduce the crib gradually
Try starting with a couple of naps during the day and over about a week or two, slowly transition all of their sleeps into the crib. The process of moving to the crib is a gradual one so be patient as you and your child make the transition. Start with one sleep a day and then add another sleep each day until all sleeps are in their new crib.
Look for a crib that is Greenguard Gold Certified like the Million Dollar Baby Classic Tanner 3-in-1 Convertable Crib. This certification means that it’s been screened for over 10,000 chemicals and VOCs known to pollute indoor air, the Tanner meets the rigorous chemical emissions standards of UL, a global independent safety science company.
#5 Use a sleep tracking monitor and app
Monitors like the Nanit Plus Smart Baby Monitor can be absolute life savers when it comes to giving you both peace of mind and insight into your baby’s sleep patterns. Designed to give you a birds eye view, this monitor also comes with an app that will let you check the room temperature, play soothing sounds and figure out what might be disrupting your baby’s sleep. (Plus a million other bells and whistles!)
- What We’re Reading: 11 Sleep Hacks For Babies & Toddlers To Help Them Fall Asleep & Stay Asleep
- Looking for chemical-free fabrics? Visit The Tot Organic Shop