How to Make Your Baby Sleep in Their Own Crib
Getting your baby to sleep and stay asleep is one seemingly endless part of parenting. However, getting them to sleep in their own crib after they’re so accustomed to sleeping in your arms or your bed is on an entirely different plane of frustration. To them, it’s like they’re being yanked out of this amazingly comfortable environment into one that is less familiar and not as enjoyable.
Transitioning your baby from the comfort of you, your voice, and your comfort to a crib is quite difficult to them. It’s a completely different environment to them. It takes a lot of effort and patience just to have them sleep in their own crib and stay asleep. Let’s go over a few tips to help get your baby to sleep in their own crib.
Before you even start looking for a crib or make any sort of decision, make sure you read that the product and materials in that crib are certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association first.
Beds and Bedding
You might be tempted to buy something such as a soft quilted mattress because of how comfortable they are, but they pose a risk of suffocation for infants. A crib mattress needs to be firm and made without any chemical flame retardants or vinyl. It also needs to fit the dimensions of the crib exactly, ensuring that there are no or gaps. When looking for a crib, it must carry a Greenguard accreditation which certifies that it is a low emitting material of volatile organic chemicals.
For bedding, cotton and flannel are solid options for fabric assuming they are machine washable. Vertical crib liners are great because they give protection for babies and their fragile limbs. This is great for flailing arms and whenever they toss and turn around in their crib.
A good recommendation is a soft fit sheet because it reduces the potential risks of suffocation/entanglement. You might also want to look into getting a few machine washable waterproof mattress protectors/pads to make sure the mattress is protected in the event of a diaper leakage.
Babies love comfort and routine. They enjoy warmth because it makes them feel safe. I can’t think of a better place to feel safe and secure than in the arms of their mother/father.
Changing a baby’s routine is going to be a long process. It will take time/patience/dedication in order to make them feel secure and comfy while sleeping in a crib. It’s important to make sure that they’re as comfortable as possible, and this includes making sure that the bed isn’t too cold for their sensitive and fragile skin. This is why I highly recommend the Magic Sleep Suit. Not only is it warm and cozy, but you can also cuddle and nurse your baby while they’re in a sleep suit and eventually they should fall soundly asleep in it. The idea is that you basically eliminate any potential hazards such as a heavy blanket or quilt which risks suffocation or death via sudden infant death syndrome, all while keeping them snug and cozy.
Use your own judgment when using a sleep suit on baby or swaddling them. If it’s during the summer or you’re experiencing hot weather, obviously this is when you don’t want to swaddle them. If you don’t prefer to use a sleep suit/sleep sack, then you can consider swaddling him/her during the first few weeks. But, it’s important to note that after six weeks, make sure you leave at least one arm free of them so that they can use it for self-soothing or they can suck on their hand and let you know that they are hungry.
Let Them Down While They’re Sleepy, Yet Still Awake
This method works much more often than you’d think, especially when you want your baby to acclimate with his/her new environment. One way you can do this is by either making sure that they are tired enough to fall asleep, or by establishing a sleep routine. A sleep routine can be anything from a massage, music/sound, a bath, swaddling them, or dimming the room. The list goes on and on. Basically, anything that you do consistently that lets them know that it’s almost time for bed can be part of your bedtime routine, which if done consistently and correctly, should help them fall sleep much quicker and stay asleep longer.
Putting them down while they’re sleepy but still awake is a great way to allow them to settle in themselves. If they cry or are distressed, make sure you offer reassurance with kisses/cuddles/pats on the back, but make sure that you step out of the room quietly.
It’s recommended to do this in the first 3 to 4 months so that they can start to develop sleep associations that are separate from Mommy and Daddy. This will allow them to settle in at night without the need for you to be there all the time.
Another great thing about this method is that it helps them associate the crib with going to sleep. If successful, they will no longer need help getting back to sleep or require constant soothing or feeding throughout the night, which means less headaches and more sleep for everyone.
The reasoning behind why this works is that by putting them in their crib while they’re sleepy but still awake, you’ll be teaching them to self soothe, which is extremely important. This will let them calm down/relax and even go to sleep again completely on their own. This will tell them very early on that crib equals sleep. Not all babies are created equally though, and some will jerk away as soon as their head hits the pillow. In that case, some manual intervention is needed.
It can be tough, as a parent, trust me I know that. I’ve been through it and is not fun or easy to manage dealing with.
Sometimes when you’re starting out early, you might not be able to get them to sleep until you rock them and they’re completely asleep. Then you place them in their crib. It’s perfectly okay to do that every once in a while, as long as you try your best and are consistent then you should see progress.
Set the Stage for Your Baby’s Sleep
For some babies, this method may take quite some time to finally start working. The crib transition in general for them is not a simple one and you really need to put in a lot of effort and have patience throughout the process.
Make sure the environment is dark or dim so that your baby can associate darkness with going to sleep. Having your child associate things with sleep will let them know that it is time to go to sleep.
Once you determine your child’s nap schedule, you can start setting the stage for sleep in their room. For example, you might want to close the curtains, swaddle them, and just sit with them for a few minutes as you say good night or do something else to help them relax and make them sleepy.
It’s okay to be inconsistent sometimes regarding feeding and sleep times, especially when dealing with a newborn, but it helps to start early and try to establish a routine that will help your baby settle into a consistent sleep pattern.
To start, try avoiding letting them sleep for more than four hours of time during the day unless they really need it. If they sleep too much during the day, then they might be wound up and be wired and too ambitious during the night. Make sure to note how much they sleep during the day because if you can figure that out, you can help them sleep at night.
Generally, newborn babies need to be fed around every 2 to 4 hours. Most sleep better after a feeding. When you finally figure out how to get your baby to sleep in a crib, it will be well worth it. Be happy knowing that you created a positive bedtime routine so that you, your loved ones, and your baby can get the sleep that they all deserve.