Wondering how to get your baby to sleep in their crib? Then you are in the right place. Often, it feels like your baby will only sleep in your arms during the day.
You probably wonder when you should even attempt to have your baby sleep in their room in their crib. I’m sure it is all decorated beautifully, yet no baby in there to enjoy it.
How to Get Baby to Sleep in Crib After Co-Sleeping?
The best way to get your baby to sleep in their crib after co-sleeping is to do it slowly. Get your child comfortable in their crib and gradually start having them sleep there for longer stretches.
I transitioned both of my kids around 4 months. I feel that for the first few months, it is important for them to be close by. Not only do they need to be fed often, but they also wake up often, and the closer they are, the better.
Plus, you want to be near your baby in the beginning as well. Check out these 10 Newborn Hacks Super Helpful for new moms. They are a game-changer for the first few months.
Both of my kids were ready to have their own space before I was. I cried my first night away from each of them. But they loved being in their crib.
They started sleeping so much better after transitioning. My daughter didn’t start sleeping through the night until 8 months. But, my son slept through the night right away.
So how do you even begin transitioning the baby to a crib?
How to transition baby to crib from Rock n Play
So before my kids were sleeping in their crib, they were in a pack n’ play next to my bed. I’m sure you have your baby in something similar to a bassinet or the Rock n’ Play.
It is important to note that Rock n’ Play is not safe for babies to sleep in; they have been recalled. Make sure you are using a safe sleeping area for your baby. Transition your baby to a crib and out of the rock n’ play.
Smaller spaces are best in the beginning, but eventually, they need more room. My babies also had a pack n’ play with a bassinet downstairs where they would usually take naps. I loved the pack ‘n play that also had a changing table like this one here.
How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Without Being Held
They were used to a small space or being snuggled in someone’s arms. It took some getting used to their huge crib. Once baby’s get familiar with their new space, though, they will love it.
Getting your baby comfortable in their own space is key to having them love their space.
Step 1: Spend time in their room/space.
Start taking them in their room often. I would take them in their room and lay them in their crib while organizing their baby clothes or cleaning their room.
Let them spend time exploring their crib while they are awake. Utilize the adorable mobile you got during your baby shower. Or if you don’t have one, make one!
You can buy the motor and arms separately (like this one here) and attach pictures of the family or animals or anything else you want to the arms, and they can watch it spin around.
Have them do tummy time in their crib. Attach a tummy time mirror to the side of the crib so they can try to look at themselves.
Start to have story time in their room or next to their crib before bedtime.
Talk to them and tell them all about their room and describe all the items in the room. You want them to spend as much time in the room as they can so they get used to it.
Get them a baby bouncer or jumper to play in while you hang out in their room. The key is to get them comfortable in their room before attempting to have them sleep in there alone.
Once they are comfortable and happy to be in their room, you can then move on to the next step.
Related Post: 14 Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms.
Step 2: Sleep Train Naps First
Start sleep training for naps in their crib first. Once they are comfortable in their room, you can start laying them down for naps in their crib.
The first few may not be for very long. They are now trying to get used to the new sleeping arrangements. But that is okay.
For a while, I would have them nap in their crib as long as they would, and then if they were really restless before their nap should be over, I would babywear them for the rest of their nap.
The key is to always start in their crib for each nap. Before you know it, they will be napping their whole nap in their crib.
While trying to complete step 2 you can also work on step 3 at the same time.
Step 3: Establish a bedtime routine.
Having a good bedtime routine is important in getting your baby to sleep without having to cry it out. They need to tell when it is bedtime so that they know it is now time to sleep a longer stretch.
Before you can get the baby to sleep in their crib comfortably at night, step 2 should be complete. Until then, make sure you are still doing the bedtime routine in their room.
An example of the bedtime routine I used for both my kids in the beginning (it changed a little as they got older):
- wash up every day-hands, feet, and face/neck (bath or shower with baby a few times a week) these washcloths here are amazing, so soft on baby’s skin
- baby massage with coconut oil (see how to do the I Love You baby massage here)
- clean diaper and pajamas
- read books (check out these for some great gift ideas)
- sing lullaby
- give a bottle or nurse
- swaddle if they are young enough
- rock them in dark until sleepy
- gently put them in bed when they are just about to sleep
- turn on noise machine
Step 4: Start having them sleep in the crib.
Once they are comfortable taking naps in their crib and a good bedtime routine is established, they can now sleep in their crib. If you gradually do all the steps and have patience, you can get your baby to sleep in their crib even after co-sleeping.
How to Get Baby to Sleep in Crib Without Crying it Out
Depending on how old they are, they may not be ready to sleep through the night. Some babies may still want to nurse at least once a night until almost 1. My daughter nursed at night until about 8 months. My son slept through the night at 5 months. Sleep training a breastfed baby doesn’t have to be difficult.
It just depends on their needs. Before you rush into the room at the slightest sound, make sure they want something. Babies make a lot of noise throughout the night and sometimes will be fine within minutes without any help.
My daughter would sometimes cry in her sleep. It would freak me out, and I would run into her room and end up waking her up. Then it would take almost an hour to put her back down.
Once I learned to wait a minute before going in, I could then tell when she was crying in her sleep and really awake. That is one piece of advice I wish to go back and tell myself as a new mom.
This is when having a baby monitor with a camera is helpful. You can see what they are doing and whether they are trying to adjust or self-soothe and when they need something.
The final step is a step that needs to be done the entire time.
Step 5: Be consistent!
Consistency is key to making any of the steps work. Babies are all about routine. They like to know what is coming.
Once they are used to going to bed, they will look forward to it and anticipate it. Every bedtime will get easier and easier. Naps will be welcomed.
Babies need a lot of sleep, and they are more agreeable when they get the sleep they need. They are easier to put to bed when they get all the sleep they need.
But it takes a while for them to learn how to put themselves to sleep. However, with consistency, you can sleep train them without having them cry it out.
By giving them consistency and routine, you are helping to give them the tools to be good sleepers. To easily help your baby or toddler through a time change, slightly change their routine over a week or more.
Even if you think it is not working, one day it will. Always start by putting them in their crib. If they make a complete fuss and you want to take them out, do it!
But the next time they go to sleep, start them out in the crib again. Eventually, it all works out, and your baby will sleep in their crib without being held.
Stay with it! And soon you will be having sweet, sweet dreams!