How to Get Baby to Sleep in Crib
The early phase of a newborn’s life requires the utmost attention. This is why parents spend most of their time with their baby. However, so much attention at the initial stage does affect the sleeping habits of the infant. Hence, exposing your child to the crib for the first time becomes the biggest challenge parents have to embrace.
To relieve you from this hassle, we have compiled a step-by-step guide to give you an idea on how to get baby to sleep in crib.
Prepare the Baby for a Smooth Transition
The transition from mother’s arms to a crib shouldn’t be abrupt. In fact, you must prepare your baby for this by laying the foundation for a smooth transition. To start with, allow the baby to spend some time in their crib during the day.
This will help develop an association between the child and the crib. The baby will start to feel comfortable while playing or even napping in a new environment. During this phase, try to make the nursery more attractive and colorful by placing all the things that your baby likes to play within the crib with them.
Start a Bedtime Routine
When the baby is around 3 months old, it is the best time to start a bedtime routine. The routines may vary from parents to parents. Some prefer giving bath to their baby before bedtime. This usually works for most of the babies, yet there are a few instances where the infant appears to be more active after a bedtime bath.
Moreover, allow sufficient time to the transition. In fact, there is always an adjustment period while you are going to change the routine of your baby. Therefore, keep in mind that the transition will take a few nights, so don’t get tired too soon when following such a routine.
Even after the transition has happened smoothly, continue to follow the bedtime routine in the same way. If you change it, the baby won’t accept too many changes within a short time span. For instance, if the baby is still very young, continue swaddling the baby while they are getting used to the crib.
After finding the best routine, follow it strictly. This will help the baby to get used to the bedtime routine. Your child will stop resisting solo sleeping within a week or so. Even if it takes longer than that, don’t change the routine, as taking a step backward will ruin all your hard work.
Using the Crib for Night Sleep
Normally, the need to sleep is higher at bedtime. It’s the time when a baby requires the longest stretch of sleep. Hence, you need to take advantage of the baby’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
For this purpose, lay your baby in the crib for bedtime. It will help the baby to develop a new sleep association with the crib. Make sure to put your child in the crib they are still awake. This is the single most essential step that you shouldn’t skip or forget.
However, mothers who breastfeed their infant must find it difficult. In most of the cases, the baby falls asleep in the mother’s lap. With a view to deal with this issue, you need to arouse the baby so that their eyes are open when you are placing them in the crib.
Of course, you have to bear with a lot of crying for the first few days. However, don’t fall prey to such a reaction and continue with your plan. Naturally, it is difficult for the parents to ignore the crying of their baby. Remember, the end result will be rewarding — ‘a good night's sleep’.
Furthermore, don’t make excuses that ignoring your child when they are crying will cause any psychological harm. This won’t be the case if you continue to meet the needs of your baby on a consistent basis — it won't lower baby’s sense of security.
The only thing that you should keep in mind is that it is relatively easier to develop a sleep routine when your infant is younger. Later on, the process will turn out to be more difficult for you and the baby. This is so, as after the babies gets older than 5 or 6 months, they react to a change more aggressively.
In other words, it makes them upset when you are changing the rules for them. Hence, a 3-month-old baby usually accepts the routine in a more subtle way.
Things to Consider
When the baby is 4 months, lay them gently in the crib. This suggests that when laying your baby down in the crib, don’t do it hastily. For example, if the baby starts crying, pick them up. After the child is calm, put them down in the crib again. You need to repeat this strategy until the baby falls asleep.
However, when the baby is older than 4 months, you can maintain a distance when making a transition to the crib. Lay the baby down in their crib and if they start to cry, offer tummy rubbing or try to give a verbal soothing.
If the baby loves a toy, put it close to them. Soft toys are best for this purpose, as they are harmless and comfortable too. You can use it as an essential part of the transition by offering a specific toy to your baby.
Parents must continue to offer transition support to their babies, irrespective of the age. Initially, you have to be more conscious and flexible when offering such support. However, after a few weeks or even a month, less attention will be required for this purpose.
Preparing your baby for solo sleep is a tough transition; it has effects on both the baby as well as you. Therefore, you need to be strong enough to complete the process that you have started. In fact, babies are smart enough to know how to grab your attention.
Hence, if you take back the baby to your room, it will be difficult to make this transition happen smoothly. Now when you know how to get your baby to sleep in their crib, it will be easy for you to make such a transition. Just reassure yourself that you can do it! If you are still in doubt, check out the Baby Sleep Miracle site for more info.