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When to Move Baby to a Crib?

Parenthood brings with it whole new challenges and decisions that you will have to make for the well-being of your little one. Providing the right sleep environment – whether co-sleeping or room-sleeping – is important as sound sleep is crucial for your baby’s well-being and growth. Also, as parents, you’re not getting quite nearly enough sleep and that’s something you’ll have to plan for and manage too. 

From choosing the crib with the best safety features, to carefully scheduling naps and feeding times so that your baby gets familiar with a routine, there are some important points to keep in mind when timing the transition of your baby to a crib. 

Your baby would have started sleeping in a bassinet, next to you in your bed or in a swing, at some point the move to their own crib is inevitable and can be tricky. As your baby changes and grows explosively over the 1st twelve months, you will notice that as soon as you’ve set up some kind of a nap schedule, your baby will outgrow their bassinet.  The move to their own crib will be a disruption to their routine, as babies are creatures of habits and routines, and can sometimes cause temporary sleep setbacks. The transition from a bassinet to a crib may seem challenging, but you shouldn’t lose sleep over it.

We’ve tried to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about timing the transition of the baby into a crib according to your baby’s and your needs.

Read Related Article: How to Keep Your Toddler in the Crib?

Signs that Your Baby is Ready to Move to the Crib

Baby’s rate of growth is exponential during the first few months with incredible growth spurts. If your baby has outgrown the bassinet, you don’t want them to wake up crying because they’ve bumped into the sides.

Transitioning baby from bassinet, swing, or bouncy chair, into a crib, is a very personal decision and you will need to work around your and your baby’s specific requirements. 

This move to the crib can be for a number of reasons. You need to determine the time is right for the transition. The 3 months to 6 months mark is when most baby’s transition into the crib. Some babies get there more quickly, as parents of faster-growing babies will have to think about the move to a crib first, pediatricians say. If your baby is bigger-than-average, by the time they are at the three months mark, they might outgrow the bassinet.

A small baby at even eight months old might still fit snugly in the bassinet. If your baby is still getting decent peaceful sleep time in the bassinet, it might not yet be time to rush into transitioning them into a crib.

If you follow the weight and length limitations for a bassinet strictly, you might think it’s okay for your baby to keep sleeping in there beyond six months of age. But, most parents find that six months is usually the age when their babies seem to be outgrowing their bassinets. So, if you see your baby rolling, or sitting up, it’s time to start planning your transition.

Room-sharing is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), ideally for the first year, but definitely at least for the first 6 months. This means you sleep with the baby in the same room.  This is recommended both to promote night-time breastfeeding and reduce the risk of SIDS. All you need to do is place your baby’s crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard close to your bed, so you’re more easily alerted to any problems your babyfaces.

The AAP says that most bassinettes hold babies who weigh 10 pounds or less. So they suggest moving your new-born to a crib once they hit the 10-pound mark. They recommend room-sharing because it is much safer than bed-sharing and can decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. 

How Do you Know it’s Time to Move your Baby to the Crib?

How heavy is your baby?

As great as they are for new-borns, bassinets and co-sleepers usually have weight limits. Some products can carry as low as 10 pounds (which your baby will get to in the first month) though most can accommodate a 20-pound baby as well. 

You should check up in the recommended weight limit on your model, and if you’re not sure or using a hand-me-down, we suggest you err on the side of caution and move the baby into a crib when they hit 15 pounds.

Does your baby look uncomfortable?

Ask yourself whether your baby looks cramped the next time you put her down. If the baby’s head or feet seem to be forever bumping into the sides of the bassinet or you find your baby suddenly and frequently waking up crying, they might be demanding a little more space. Your decision should ultimately be based on how soundly everyone is sleeping. If your baby is sleeping soundly through the night, you might want to hold off the transition a little bit longer.

Can your baby roll over and move by themselves?

The first step that your baby takes marks one of the high points of parenthood. It’s also a pretty good time to begin planning to move your baby to a crib. Bassinettes and other rockers are usually shallower than cribs and the baby might flip over. So you will have to time this decision with the baby’s safety in mind.

Most doctors suggest keeping the baby close to you in a safety-approved crib even when they get too big for the bassinet. You should always speak with your doctor if you plan to transition your child out of the crib and your room prior to the 6- to 12-month AAP recommendation.

The switch from co-sleepers to room-sleepers and parents’ emotional reaction to it is the biggest hurdle for the move to the crib. Many parents can’t imagine sleeping separately as they get used to having their baby right next to them in a bassinet.

Some babies will happily sleep wherever you put them without caring much about the switch. But you can expect your little one to put up some fight, some crying and fussing, the longer you wait. A younger baby would be easier to transition to crib that an older one that has gotten comfortable in the bassinet. Also, try not to transition before or soon after making a major change in the baby’s environment and routine such as a vacation, first flight, or moving into a new house.

Babies are highly dependent on routines and dislike changes and your baby may also not warm up to the idea at first. 

When making then move to the crib, take care of the following and you’ll be good to go.

Start small: Make the switch in stages, this will help the baby get comfortable and accustomed to the crib. 

Security: You should make sure your baby’s crib is of the best security standards and meets the latest guidelines. This will not only give your baby a safe sleep but also give you peace of mind during the transition. 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.

Routine: Make the crib part of your baby’s routine. Also, now’s the time to establish some night-time rituals like bathing, feeding, snuggling, and playing. Your baby will gradually accept that the crib is a safe, secure part of their daily routine.

Relax – Be positive and happy about the transition, it’s only natural. Spending some quality relaxed time with your baby before sleep time is essential. This will help your baby make the change smoothly when you show that you’re happy and comfortable about it. 

Add some comfort – Until your baby is 12 months or older, you’re not supposed to put things (like big stuffed animals or even pillows and blankets), into the crib, but you can add to the comfort of the room by dimming the lights and turning on some white noise.   

Parenthood comes with a lot of ups and downs no matter how well-prepared you might be. Transitioning your baby to the crib might seem like a nightmare initially, with all the crying and fuss, but it will get better. 

Don’t let the thought of transitioning your baby from your room to their own crib keep you up at night. There will be a few tiring nights in your future, but ultimately, this transition should be good for the entire family.

 To quickly summarize how you can make it smooth, simple, and even fun;

  • You and your baby should sleep in the same room in the first year.
  • Place a bassinet or crib 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. It will also be an important emotional milestone for you, as your baby starts sleeping in their own space. Don’t fret over it too much, if you keep it basic you will find that the move to a crib is one of the best things to happen for your kid as well as for you and your partner.

Read Another Related Article: How to Transition Baby to Crib?

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