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10 Tips To Transition Your Baby to A Crib

Baby still sleeping in your room in a bassinet or rocker? Wondering how to transition your baby to a crib in the nursery? Here are 10 simple tips on how to transition your baby or toddler to sleeping in a crib in her own room!

baby transition to crib with mom by side

Are you ready to transition your baby out of your room?

Whether your baby has started sleeping longer stretches, or you’re ready to have your room back with your spouse, there are many reasons why parents transition their babies from a bassinet to a crib.

If you’re curious about using a bassinet vs crib from the beginning, check out this post!

If you’re wondering how to transition your baby to a crib, or how to go about transitioning from SNOO to crib, here are 10 tips so you can successfully transition your baby to sleeping in her own crib, in her own space.

baby awake in crib

When To Transition Your Baby To A Crib?

When should you transition your baby to a crib? This is such a personal decision for each family, so there’s no cut and dry number.

The AAP recommends room sharing for at least the first six months to help reduce the risk of SIDS. Many people decide to transition their babies to a crib sooner than that, solely based on the fact that babies are so loud when they sleep! While other parents keep their babies in their room with them for longer.

For me, I never slept well when our daughter was in our bedroom. Every little noise, sound, or movement she made had me jumping up to check on her.

I needed a good video and audio monitor and her in a different room to get some sleep myself. I was so worried about SIDS so I did not sleep well when we transitioned her to a crib. If you are similar, get a baby movement monitor as well to give you some peace of mind!

So how long can babies sleep in their bassinet anyway? Most babies start to outgrow their bassinet between 3 and 6 months. Your baby may hit developmental milestones and need to be transitioned out or they may get too big for their bassinet to where it’s no longer safe for them to sleep in it.

Their little bodies grow fast! This can be a good time to start thinking about transitioning your baby from a cot to a crib.

If you think you’re ready to make the transition from co-sleeper or bassinet to the crib, here are 10 tips to help you do it!

crib following safe sleep guidelines

1. Have A Safe Sleep Space

Before you think about transitioning your baby to a crib, make sure to follow the abcs of safe sleep for your baby. This will help her sleep better and safer and includes:

  • A crib area that is free from all toys, bumpers, pillows, and stuffed animals. Remember, a boring crib is a safe crib.

  • No positioners, loungers, or pillows in the crib. Learn more about these items and Dockatot safety when it comes to sleep.

2. Create a Good Sleep Environment

It’s important to create an optimal sleep environment in your baby’s nursery. Create a cozy and soothing environment for them that is conducive to sleeping and includes:

  • No nightlights, or light projectors on the wall or ceiling.

  • A good sound machine for white noise that runs continuously. (Babies are used to loud white noise from being in the womb).

  • A cool temperature room (between 68 and 72° F) as well as baby dressed comfortably. Babies are often overly dressed and too warm. Check the TOG rating if you want to know what’s appropriate!
baby swaddled and asleep

3. Swaddle Baby

That crib is an awfully big space for your little baby. It might feel gigantic to them if they’re used to sleeping in a rocker or bassinet. Help them feel safe and snug by using a swaddle each night.

Swaddling can help keep babies from waking themselves and provides a nice, cozy environment like they were used to in the womb. Plus they will look adorable as a little baby burrito!

Follow these tips if you think your baby hates being swaddled.

If you’ve already transitioned your baby out of the swaddle, then you can use a sleep sack or Zipadee-Zip as a cue for sleeping and a way to keep baby warm without loose blankets.

See the best sleep sacks for baby here.

4. Make The Nursery Familiar

If you and your baby never hang out in the nursery, then you can’t expect her to sleep well when she is left in her crib alone. Spend some time during the day playing with her in the nursery, changing her, feeding her, snuggling her, etc.

You can also do tummy time in the crib while you cheer her on. Or put some baby toys in the crib and play with her while she is in the crib.

All of this will help your baby get more familiar with the sights and smells of the room and help her transition to the crib better.

mom with baby in crib - how to transition to crib

5. Make the Crib Feel Like Mom

If your baby is used to falling asleep in your arms, then you have to make the crib feel a little like you!

Try sleeping with baby’s swaddle or pacifier for a few days and then put her in it when you make the transition. Or you can even sleep on your baby’s crib sheets before moving her into the crib.

6. Start A Bedtime Routine

As you start to make the transition, start a bedtime routine with your baby. This helps her learn good sleep habits and winds her down for the day. Your baby will start to recognize the routine and learn to associate it with sleep.

Your bedtime routine can include giving your baby a bath, doing one last daytime feeding, reading her some bedtime stories, and giving her goodnight kisses before swaddling her.

We loved having a bedtime routine early on. It also helped a ton whenever grandparents or babysitters would put our baby to bed. The routine was the same so she knew bedtime was following at the end!

baby standing up and smiling in crib

7. Do the Bedtime Routine in the Nursery Before you Transition

Once you have your bedtime routine down, do the entire routine in the nursery for a few days before you’re ready to make the transition.

You can put on your baby’s pajamas, read books, do one last feeding, and give snuggles and then bring your baby to your room for 3 to 4 days. This will create happy memories of her nursery and help ease the transition.

8. Choose A Sleep Training Method

If you’re transitioning your baby into the crib after four months old, and want to sleep train, make sure to read the different sleep training methods and choose one that works for your baby and your personality. Stay consistent with whatever approach you decide. Your baby will become more familiar and comfortable with the crib the more she is exposed to it.

baby asleep

9. Start With Nighttime

Many people will tell you to start having your baby fall asleep in her crib during the day for naps at first, but I disagree!

We took the completely opposite track and started the transition at night time. Once babies have figured out their day and night confusion, the sleep drive is greater at nighttime than during the day, so this approach worked well for us.

By the end of the day, babies are usually very tired and have a greater need for sleep. If your baby usually gets a good stretch at night, you can try the transition then.

10. Pause for a Minute

Many second and third-time moms will tell you that they can’t rush in the nursery the second their baby starts crying. Often, babies will cry a bit in their sleep as they connect their sleep cycles. If you hear your baby having a hard time, take a pause to see if she really needs you.

If you always rush in, that will become the norm. Sometimes our babies just need a minute or two to resettle.

Bonus Tip – Gradual Approach

You can gradually transition your baby to sleeping in a crib before they are sleeping through the night. Start putting them in their crib when they are at their loudest—after their 3am(ish) feed until the morning.

Babies are usually tired and half-asleep and might go back to sleep in their crib easily. For about a week or two, you can sleep them in their crib during that stretch. Then add midnight to 3am, and then after a week, 9pm to midnight. Soon you can put them down for bed in their crib sometime between 6 and 7, and have them stay there all night.

Good luck transitioning your baby to her crib! Once she starts sleeping in her own room and through the night, you’ll feel like a whole new woman!

Make sure to also pay attention to your baby’s growth and physical milestones and know when to lower the crib as she starts to move!

Need help with your baby’s sleep?

Struggling with your baby’s sleep? Grab my Baby D.R.E.A.M. System—my complete guide to getting your 4 month through 2.5 year old to sleep, without rocking or nursing them to sleep each night! Grab it here.

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Amy Motroni
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Jamie

Saturday 19th of June 2021

I’ve been trying to transition our daughter to her crib during daytime naps and am failing so far (she’s our second and we never had this issue with our first). I’m going to try your advice of starting with the nighttime transition first! Hope it works!!!

Amy Motroni

Sunday 20th of June 2021

Good luck Jamie! I hope it goes well for you!

Nursery Organization: How to Set Up Your Baby’s Nursery

Tuesday 3rd of December 2019

[…] area. You can use a crib right away or a pack and play or bassinet until you’re ready to transition to a crib. Use a firm mattress and tight fitting […]

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Thursday 26th of September 2019

This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something that helped me. Many thanks!