The shift from a bassinet to a crib (more specifically a crib located in a designated nursery) may seem daunting, but don’t worry. For many new parents, it is easy to become quite preoccupied with the thought of getting uninterrupted sleep. That mindset is easy to understand considering you’re not getting nearly enough rest and despite your best efforts to schedule naps in the hopes that just this one time everyone will sleep through the night! However, just when you manage to establish the perfect system of naps and nighttime routines, your newborn grows out of the one place they are accustomed to sleeping: the bassinet!
Here are some suggestions to a few of the most frequently asked questions about moving a baby from a bassinet to a crib (without undoing the sleeping routine for baby and parents).
What is the best age to transition my baby from a bassinet to a crib?
Once home from the hospital, newborns will usually start their sleeping experiences in a bassinet, or another type of bedside sleeper located in their parents’ room. In fact, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months of life. And while room sharing is recommended, and the norm, bed sharing with a newborn is not.
Many parents find room sharing with a newborn practical because they don’t have to make a trip down a dark hallway to feed or soothe their baby. And while there are no clear guidelines when a newborn baby transitions from sleeping in a bassinet into a crib, most babies are ready to transition by the time they reach 3-4 months old. This is especially important if you begin sleep coaching at 4 months old; check out our online class for a step by step with the least amount of crying.
Whether you decided to keep the crib in the room or make the transition from bassinet to a crib that is in another room, there are important things to consider, including the stage of your child’s development and the weight limit on your bassinet – After all, babies grow!
Because there are various sleepers and baby beds on the market, it is important to note that newborns can sleep in a standard crib, so if your baby is not in a bassinet, just make sure whatever baby bed you choose in those early weeks and months meets the most up-to-date crib safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
How big is your baby?
Bassinets and other bedside sleepers are great for newborns, but they usually have weight restrictions. Some can only handle a 10-pound baby (which might just get you through the first month), although most can carry a 20-pound infant. Check the instruction manual or the manufacturer’s website to find the weight limit for yours. If you cannot find the weight limit, err on the side of caution, and move your little one to a crib when they reach 15 pounds or more.
Does your baby look cramped?
Even if your baby hasn’t reached the weight restriction of the bassinet, it may still be uncomfortable. The next time you put your baby down for a nap, or for the night, check to see if there is enough room for normal movement during sleep. For example, observe if their head or feet are hitting the sides or ends of the bassinet. If you notice they are waking up frequently (or very suddenly), and there is no discomfort from a wet diaper, that might be a sign it may be time to increase the size of the sleeping area and start transitioning to a crib.
Can your baby roll over or sit up in her bassinet?
New milestones are exciting, but the more your baby can do, the more dangerous it is to sleep in a bed that is sized for newborns. The smaller the sleep area, the more of a chance there is for a baby to smother themselves against the sides of the bassinet.
Ultimately, the milestones to note in helping you make the decision to move your baby from a bassinet to a crib include a child’s age, movement, and weight. And relax, most babies start sleeping through the night between 4-6 months old!
How do I transition my baby from sleeping in a bassinet to a crib?
Some babies are not fussy about where they sleep, as long as they are comfortable. But if you are worried the shift to a crib will cause your baby to have difficulty sleeping, here are a few tips to assist with the transition:
Make the switch in stages.
Allow your baby to nap in the crib during the day for a few weeks until they accustomed to it. At that point, try having your baby sleep in the crib for both naps and nighttime sleep so they spend all of sleep time in the crib.
Create a bedtime routine.
If you haven’t already developed any nighttime habits (bath, reading, cuddles, sleep), now is the time to do so. All babies benefit from a consistent bedtime routine; therefore, the repetition of the nighttime routine will help your baby associate the crib with peaceful slumber. Instilling healthy sleep habits is important to mold a good sleeper into childhood.
Same bed, different room.
Transitioning your baby to a crib might be easier if it involves one switch at a time. The first switch might involve keeping the baby in the bassinet, but in their own room. Once the baby adjusts to a bigger space, you can move him into the crib. Keep everything else as consistent as possible, such as a sound machine and dark room.
While these techniques only cover some of the most frequently asked questions about transitioning your baby from crib to bassinet, one thing every parent should take note of is the fact that the transition isn’t as daunting as you imagine. Don’t let the idea of moving your baby from a bassinet to a crib, and from your room to the nursery, keep you up at night. So, get ready to celebrate another milestone as your baby learns to sleep alone in their room, and you reclaim your space and a well-deserved, peaceful night’s sleep. For more sleep support, reach out to our Sleep Coaching Team.