Transitioning from Bassinet to Crib
The hardest part about transitioning from bassinet to crib is the effect it has on you as a parent. Many parents find the transition emotionally wrenching for many reasons. It doesn’t have to be that way. With the right attitude and the right techniques, you can make the switch to a crib quickly, easily and with a minimum of fuss.
There are several markers that signify it’s time to make the big switch. Your baby might transition sooner or later than their brother, sister, best friend or cousin. It doesn’t matter. When it comes to transitioning from bassinet to crib, every baby is on his or her own schedule.
4 Things to Consider
How Old Is Your Baby?
Most parents find that six months is usually the age when their babies seem to be outgrowing their bassinets. Most doctors suggest transitioning from bassinet to crib at this age.
Some babies get there more quickly. If your baby is tall, he might outgrow the bassinet by the time he’s three months old. A small baby might still fit snugly in the bassinet at eight months old.
If your baby is falling out of the bassinet or looks uncomfortably tight, consider making the move.
How Mobile Is Your Baby?
Babies who are starting to be mobile are good candidates for the crib. If your baby can sit up, roll over or otherwise move around freely on her own, she’s ready to start transitioning from the bassinet to the crib.
How Well Are You Sleeping?
Are there are times when you should wait to make the transition?
If your baby sleeps through the night and you’re all sleeping comfortably together, there’s no need to rush the transition to a crib. If your baby keeps you from a good night’s rest, it’s time to allow yourself the chance to get some sleep.
Keep the Crib Close
When you move your baby into the crib, it’s a good idea to keep the crib in your bedroom. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society recommend that babies sleep close to their parents for their first year.
Babies who sleep in the same room as their parents are half as likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) than those who don’t. Sleeping in the same room alerts parents to any breathing problems or other problems their babies experience at night. If the crib doesn’t fit in your bedroom, consider placing a mattress or cot in the nursery.
Keep the crib close to your bed. It’s healthier for your baby and for you. It also makes it easier to take care of those nighttime feedings.
Make Transitioning From Bassinet to Crib Easier
You may be surprised to learn that the biggest obstacle to transitioning from bassinet to crib is your emotional reaction to the idea. Many parents get used to having their baby right next to them in a bassinet. They can’t imagine sleeping separately.
Your baby may also not warm up to the idea at first. Babies are highly dependent on routines and dislike change.
If you’re worried that you’re about to stir up a storm of wailing and crying, relax. There are ways to make the change easier on everyone.
What You’ll Need:
When making any change, your baby needs three things:
Familiarity. Your baby’s crib might feel vast after the confined space of her bassinet. It’s also a new place with unfamiliar smells and feelings. Help your baby by placing sheets that you’ve slept on inside the crib. They’ll surround your baby with the familiar, comforting smell of you.
Another way to get your baby familiar with the crib is having him spend time in it outside of sleep time. Let him spend an hour a day or so hanging out in the crib to get used to this new space.
Security. If your baby feels lost in the crib, consider swaddling her to add a sense of security. Swaddling helps babies relax and feel secure. It also helps them sleep on their backs. Don’t swaddle a baby who’s more than six months old or one who can already roll over.
Another tip is to let your baby take naps in the crib. When it’s time for a daytime nap, put your drowsy baby in the crib instead of the bassinet. This is much easier than expecting your baby to sleep in the crib all night. Start small. It’ll be easier for both of you.
Routine. Make the crib part of your baby’s routine. Over time, start adding time in the crib to daily routines like napping, feeding and playing. Your baby will gradually accept that the crib is a safe, secure part of his daily routine.
Make Transitioning From Bassinet to Crib Easy for You
Are you having difficulty with the idea of no longer having your baby close at hand? After months of having your baby close at hand in a bassinet, you might feel less secure having her in a crib.
Here are some steps you can take for your own peace of mind when transitioning from bassinet to crib.
Make Sure the Crib is Safe
Knowing that your baby’s crib is as safe as possible will help you feel better. Follow these simple safety guidelines.
- There should be no loose, broken or sagging pieces on the crib.
- Use a firm mattress.
- Babies should only be placed on their backs to sleep.
- Don’t cover your baby with a blanket or comforter. Use a sleep sack or warm pajamas.
- Don’t place stuffed toys in the crib.
- Bumper pads are unnecessary and potentially dangerous.
Be Relaxed and Positive About the Change
Help your baby make the change by showing her that you’re happy about it. Don’t let your worries show in your tone of voice or your body language. Your baby will pick up on it.
Remind yourself that the crib is safe, your baby has gotten used to it and you’ve done everything you can to help your baby feel secure.
Remember that you’ll still be in the same room with your baby. These reassurances to yourself can help make transitioning from bassinet to crib a positive experience for you.
Transitioning to the Nursery Alone
Transitioning from bassinet to crib is one thing. Having your baby sleep in the nursery on her own is the next step. This is tough on parents. How do you get yourself used to the idea?
Use baby monitors. Baby monitors give you peace of mind that you can still see and hear your little one from a separate room. There are apps available that turn your old phone or tablet into an instant baby monitor.
Install night lights. Putting night lights in your baby’s room make it easy to walk in there and check on him without stumbling or turning on bright lights. They’ll be a comfort to you and your baby.
Enjoy nighttime routines. Spend time in the nursery every evening. Use the time to read to your baby, relax or play. These soothing rituals will help make the separation easier.
Summary and Safety Pointers When Transitioning from Bassinet to Crib
- You and your baby should sleep in the same room the first year.
- Parents and babies should not sleep in the same bed together. Most baby deaths happen when babies sleep in the same bed as an adult. Use a bassinet or crib placed next to your bed.
- If the crib is too large to fit in your bedroom, set up a place to sleep in the nursery.
- Have your baby spend some time in the crib every day.
- Remember that babies need security, familiarity and routine to feel safe.
- When it’s time to sleep separately, ease your worries with a baby monitor.
Transitioning from bassinet to crib is a big step in your baby’s life. You can make the transition smooth, easy and even fun. If you follow some simple safety guidelines and make the transition slowly, your baby will soon sleep happily in the crib. That will help all of you get the good night’s sleep you need.