How to Get Your Babies to Transition to the Crib

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There are a number of sleeping arrangements to try when your babies are little. The good news is, whether you decide to co-sleep, put your twins in bassinets, have them sleep in a play yard, or use Rock ‘N Plays, you’ve got options to find what works best with your kiddos.

After  you’ve found the right sleeping arrangement that will get you through newborn stage, at some point, most parents will eventually want their babies to transition to the crib in their own nursery. 

We each came home from the hospital with grand ideas of having our twins start out in the crib in their respective nurseries, but let’s be honest, reality hit and we had to adapt.  Both sets of our twins ended up sleeping in the Rock ‘N Play for months. All of our babies had acid reflux and the Rock ‘N Plays were a great way to help relieve the discomfort of reflux while they slept. Comfortable babies means more sleep for everyone!

Eventually, after our babies grew and we were able to get their acid reflux under control, we were ready to make the transition from the Rock ‘N Plays back into their cribs.

Stress Free Ways to Get your Babies to Transition to the Crib:

We are sharing with you the strategies that worked for our families.  We are not medical professionals, nor is the information provided medical advice.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If you or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian.

how to get your babies to transition to the crib

When Should You Transition To The Crib?

We always say that you know your baby and what works best for your family, so the answer to this question can vary.  In general,  consider the safety limitations of the gear you are using.  Be sure that your baby is within the weight limitations of a bassinet or Rock ‘N Play.  Before your baby hits the maximum in weight that is safe for the sleeping contraption or your baby is beginning to look cramped, you will want to start working on transitioning to a crib.

Other milestones to consider might be if your baby is rolling over and/or sitting up independently.  The crib is the safest place for your baby to sleep at this point.

Lastly, when your baby is beginning to sleep longer stretches at night, say 5 or more hours, it is helpful to have them in their cribs to begin your sleep training efforts.

Slowly Introduce the New Space:

If your babies are sleeping in something other than a crib in your room, start making the transition by getting them comfortable with their new sleeping environment.  Start Slow.  Have them spend time in their cribs while you fold laundry or sit and read stories aloud in a chair.  Or lay them down and sing a few songs, pick them back up and be on your way.

Start to slowly put your babies into their cribs for a few minutes at a time, so that spending time in the crib is a positive and enjoyable experience.  Soon your child will start feeling more comfortable in their new space.

After you have spent some time getting comfortable in the cribs while your babies are awake you need to work on getting them accustomed to SLEEPING in their own room.  Again, begin this transition slowly by moving the Rock ‘N Plays or bassinets into their room. Start with naps during the day and eventually get them sleeping in the nursery at night.  The key is to be strategic and thoughtful when you are working on transitioning to the crib.  Nobody likes to have their world turned upside down, especially when it comes to sleep!

It’s not realistic to just place your baby into their flat, wide open crib after months of sleeping in a more compact (or even angled) space like a Rock N’ Play.  They surely won’t magically sleep through the night… #wishfulthinking.  Once your babes get used to sleeping in their room, you are ready to start transitioning them out of their sleeping space and into their cribs.

When you feel your babies are comfortable sleeping in their nursery and are ready to transition to the crib, follow these steps.  It will help your babies’ transition tremendously.  

Swaddle Rolls Under the Crib Sheet:

Take those extra swaddles you brought home from the hospital and put them to good use. Roll them tightly into long snake-like rolls.  You might need 4 blankets total for each crib. Place them UNDERNEATH the crib sheet in a horseshoe shape to mimic a more confined space like a Rock ‘N Play or bassinet.  Remember that your cribs should be clear of loose blankets and toys to help prevent SIDS. 

Your babies, when placed in this little snug area, won’t feel like the crib is such a large open space and will feel more comfortable sleeping in the crib.

We don’t recommend using this strategy if your baby has learned to roll from back to belly.

Stack Books:

Remember all of those books you got at your shower? Put ’em to good use! Stack hard-backed books underneath the crib mattress to recreate the incline that your babies are used to sleeping at.  Remember, you want the conditions in the crib to feel similar to the sleeping environment they previously enjoyed. This new transition will take some time for your baby to adjust.  Don’t just rip off the bandaid by making your baby move into a larger space and lay flat all at once.  By gradually making changes, you are setting your baby up for successful sleep!

After your baby has had a few nights to adjust, slowly take out one book from under the mattress every few nights until they are eventually laying flat. This might take up to a few weeks.  Don’t sweat it! Doesn’t slow and steady win the race?

Routine, Routine, Routine:

We cannot emphasize this enough: babies thrive off of routine. Their worlds are changing ever so quickly, making any little adjustment a major game changer from their perspective.  Consistency will only help prepare them and ease your stress when it’s time to make transitions.  

Before you begin working on the transition into the crib, be sure that you have established a consistent bedtime routine.  Learn more about the benefits of a solid bedtime routine and why it’s so important by clicking here.  Lower the lights, put on white noise and even sing a lullaby.  The steps you decide to include in your routine will help signal to your babes that sleep is coming. You can stand on your head and rap Llama Llama Red Pajama as long as you do that EVERY SINGLE NIGHT!

Transitioning babies onto the next phase in life always has a steep learning curve.  Whether you are weaning your babies from breastfeeding, approaching a nap transition, or your babies are sleeping through the night for the first time, each phase of parenting brings on new challenges.  Trust us, it’s just a season of life.  

We want to hear if you have any unique tricks to help babies transition to the crib.  Remember, we are here for you every step of the way!

Chat with us in the comments below!

how to get your babies to transition to the crib