How to Get Your Baby to Sleep in the Crib

Updated on March 12, 2018
kate stroud profile image

Kate is a mother of two boys who also manages a nanny business which caters to high end clients in the Sacramento area of California.

Source

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I'd dream of how perfect life would be when he came into the world. Of course, my baby was going to be the best little eater and sleeper there ever was. Aren't those first pregnancy daydreams the best? Then, the little guy got here and quickly corrected my crazy dreams.

If you're a parent lucky enough to have a magical unicorn baby who does everything with Instagram-worthy precision, then you probably don't need this article. But, if like most first-time parents you're just trying to survive know that you're not alone.

One of the most difficult things we face as new parents is getting our babies to sleep so that we can sleep too. I chose to co-sleep those first few months with my little guy in a bassinet next to my bed. But, when it came time to move him into his crib I was at a total loss on how to transition from bassinet to crib.

To save you some of the stress, here are my lessons learned about how to transition your baby from sleeping in your room to sleeping in their own crib.

How to Get a Baby to Sleep in a Crib

Play in the Baby's Room

You'll want to make your baby's room a happy place for them. The baby's bedroom should be a place they're familiar with so that when he's alone in the crib he recognizes where he's at. Otherwise, he's going to be scared when he is left in there alone.

Start With the First Nap

Most of us only co-sleep during nighttime. So, start using the crib during nap time. For the first nap, their urge to sleep is the strongest so it's helpful to start making any changes at this nap. Once your baby is used to sleeping in the crib for the first nap, you can start making the switch for other naps. This will help your baby get used to his crib during naps to make an easier transition when you decide to put him in there for bedtime.

Establish a Nap and Bedtime Routine

Reading with your baby before they fall asleep will help them to associate story time with sleepy time.
Reading with your baby before they fall asleep will help them to associate story time with sleepy time. | Source

Babies and children love routine. It's comforting to them when they know what to expect. At a very young age, your little one will start to get used to the routines in her life and she will come to expect those things. So, a routine before bed sets her up to recognize that the things she does with you leading up to bedtime eventually lead to going to sleep. You are likely already doing a routine, you just might not realize it.

A routine can be as simple as:

  1. a diaper change
  2. getting into pajamas
  3. having a bottle or nursing
  4. reading a book (even the same one over and over, if it's a favorite)
  5. going to bed!

Before a nap, you may want to skip the pajama part to make things easier on yourself.

When you go through these steps, your baby will start to recognize that bed is coming. For you really lucky parents, babies may start reaching for the crib when they know that time is coming!

One thing to keep in mind is that a stimulated baby is an awake baby! Avoid doing anything that gets your baby too excited (or giggly...) right before you put them down. Everything leading up to that crib should be soothing and quiet.

Have a "Sleepy Song"

I found this to be one of the most helpful things for getting our baby to sleep in his crib. We sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" as the very last part of our routine before I place him in his crib every single time.

Help Your Baby Learn to Fall Asleep on Their Own

Imagine you fall asleep in your bed.

Oh yeah, that's a good thought.

You're comfortable, warm, and exactly where you want to be. Then, you wake up on the kitchen floor!

The tile is ice-cold and you can see all of the crumbs under the fridge. This would not only startle you (on so many levels), but it would also probably freak you out enough that you'd be too scared to fall asleep in your bed next time. I mean, if it happened once it could happen again.

This is what babies go through when we let them fall asleep with us and then stick them in their own beds (except for the kitchen floor part, hopefully...).

It's almost like we try to "trick" our babies by letting them fall asleep in our arms and slowly placing them in their beds (moving so cautiously it is like we have a stick of dynamite in our hands). When they wake up, they're not where they think they should be. This causes them to cry for so that they can fall asleep in your arms again.

Ideally, we all should aim to place our babies in their crib "drowsy but awake". As a new mom, I read that phrase over and over in sleep books and websites. "Drowsy but awake" seemed like a joke to me! But, I decided to give it a try because, in theory, it made sense.

To make this more do-able, I decided to take baby steps (no pun intended!). Each time I put my little guy down, I tried to make it so that he was slightly more awake than the last. Sometimes he fussed or cried a little, but I tried to wait a few minutes and he usually worked it out.

Eventually, we made it to the point where I could read him a story until he was sleepy and put him in his crib AWAKE! It felt like a miracle.

The biggest benefit of this is that now he is used to falling asleep in his crib alone. So, when he wakes in the middle of the night or the middle of a nap, he's not surprised to be there. He knows how to go back to sleep... and he does!

Use White Noise and a Dark Room

Your baby spent 9 months in the most comforting place possible - the womb. Babies are happiest when they are put into an environment that somewhat mimics the womb because that's what they are used to.

It may come as a surprise that our little ones love noise. Think about how noisy it is all day long in the womb. They hear your heartbeat, your digestion, your talking, the music you're listening to - it can be pretty loud in there and they love it! So, noise machines will quickly become your best friend.

I also love that I can easily find white noise apps for my phone. So, if we're not at home, I use this noise to create some familiarity in his sleep environment.

It's also pretty dark in the womb so babies actually sleep best in darkness. Consider getting black-out curtains for nap times and avoid using night lights. In fact, darkness helps all of us sleep better, including our little ones.

Since I began by co-sleeping with my little guy, I made sure to apply these ideas to my own bedroom. We slept with a white noise machine and in complete darkness. Then, when we made the transition to his own crib it felt more familiar to him because he was used to the noise and darkness.

Use your app store to find a white noise app that you can use to soothe baby to sleep at home and on the go.
Use your app store to find a white noise app that you can use to soothe baby to sleep at home and on the go. | Source

Swaddle Your Baby

Another way to simulate the womb is to use a swaddle. Your little one was actually pretty cramped in that small space for the last few months and likely to feel a bit uneasy with her arms and legs free to move around. Swaddling brings most young babies comfort.

Be sure you are using the swaddle only when it's age appropriate. Once your baby can roll, it is not safe to continue to swaddle but you can also look into buying a sleep sack that allows your baby's arms to be free while still keeping them warm while they sleep. Some babies are strong enough to roll as early as 2 months old. Other babies can be swaddled a bit longer. Talk to your pediatrician about safe swaddling and when you should switch to a sleep sack.

Accept That Crying Is Okay

This was the hardest for me. I mean, who likes to hear their baby cry? Unfortunately, crying is a part of life and something that we just need to get used to with a baby around.

Everyone has a different opinion on whether you should actually make your baby "cry-it-out" or not. We are not here to debate that. Instead, I encourage you to recognize the difference between your baby fussing or actually needing you.

I like to think of it this way: if my 3-year-old whined that he didn't want to go to bed, I would tell him that he had to. An infant can't whine or speak. Crying is their form of communication and I respond by telling him that it's time for bed.

A minute or two of fussing may be all it takes and may be necessary to really teach them to fall asleep in their crib.

Give It Time

When you make a big change it's not going to be simple. If you recognize that getting your baby to sleep in her crib will be a challenge that you can slowly work through, you're likely to stick with it longer and have more success.

It will not always go perfectly. Some days it'll feel like your little one will reject her crib forever. Other days she will seem to love it. Be patient and remind yourself that everything is just a phase - and this goes for so many aspects of babyhood. Try to enjoy the times your baby demands to be rocked to sleep because eventually, those days will be just a memory.

Getting your baby to sleep on their own doesn't happen overnight.
Getting your baby to sleep on their own doesn't happen overnight. | Source

What Has Worked Best for You?

What has worked best for you to help your baby through the transition to their own crib?

See results

© 2018 Kate Stroud

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://wehavekids.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)