The sweet baby needs a bigger bed. When and how do we make that first transition from bassinet to crib?
That is a valid question. Because the baby may not adapt to their new sleeping environment easily.
Will she feel comfortable in a bigger bed? Will he welcome more space or will he miss the comfort of his cradle?
Bassinets are heaven-sent, indeed. They are perfect for the first few months of age. They are small and can easily fit into your room. Don’t hesitate to buy one.
The trust in them goes back years, and it’s not due to false advertising nor is it an unconventional choice.
With the bassinet in the new parents’ room, the baby is always close to them. This makes it easier for diaper changes and late-night feeds.
But, all babies grow and you will have to move them to a bigger sleep space eventually. So there comes the crib. A bigger bed to accommodate their growth spurts. More room, and a new space to explore safely.
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When to transition from bassinet to crib
Here are some signs that your baby may be too big for its bassinet.
When They Start To Roll Over
If your baby can roll over it is time to move into a new bed. The tight space of a bassinet allows little room for rolling, and we certainly wouldn’t want the baby to roll out of the bassinet.
When Their Head Can Look Over the Wall of the Bassinet
It is time to move the baby to a crib if the baby’s head can look over the wall of the bassinet. Your baby is growing taller, and stronger too. He might be able to push up on all 4s, in preparation to start crawling. He is getting curious, and it’s mamma’s job to keep him safe as his curiosity grows.
When They No longer Fit Comfortably Inside the Bassinet
If you notice your baby’s looking a little cramped inside his bassinet, it may be time for an upgrade. If they are constantly pushing up against the walls or bumping into the walls of the bassinet they may no longer be comfortable in their space.
When They Start To Sit, Pull Up or Stand
Or maybe you notice them move into the sitting position on their own….oops now they’re falling over. Are they trying to pull up to stand? Take any of those as a sign that it is time to move to a crib for their safety.
When They Exceed The Weight Limit
It’s a good idea to check bassinet weight limits specific to your bassinet. Is your baby’s weight above 20 pounds? Perhaps it’s time to move him to a nice, more comfortable, and sturdier crib.
Frequent Wake Ups
If you start to have frequent middle-of-the-night wake-ups, then it may be a sign that your baby is no longer comfortable. Keep an eye out for other signs of outgrowing their bassinet as you can easily confuse evening wake-ups for a sleep regression.
Most cribs have multiple mattress heights to choose from.
When you set your crib up and get ready to transition your baby, make sure you set the crib mattress height to the appropriate level.
As your baby meets its milestones, the crib mattress height should be lowered to prevent a fall from the crib.
How to transition from bassinet to crib
Here are some tips for transitioning your little one to their crib or crib alternative.
Actually, there is a right time
Many parents hesitate to make this transition. That is completely understandable, it’s a big change for you too. You may be wondering “When is the best time to do this?” You might consult your pediatrician, your friends, and your parents.
The right time is when the sleep schedule is as good as it can be. When other changes or disruptions in the usual routine are not happening. That is a good time to begin. Not just before school starts or just before the baby will go to stay with the grandparents. Go for it when the environment is most stable.
Place the crib in your room
If you are not ready for your baby to sleep in a different room you can consider placing the crib in your room. If your baby is used to sleeping in a bedside sleeper, you may even try putting the crib right next to your bed where the bedside sleeper would be.
This way your baby can stay close to you and the only new transition will be the space they are in. Their surroundings will otherwise be constant. When they open their eyes they are in the same room they have always been in.
Once the baby is used to the crib you can relocate the baby and the crib to the baby’s room.
Start with nap times
This is a gradual approach. Try starting by settling the baby down in the crib during his nap times. If your baby can get use to short daytime naps in the crib, it will be easier to adjust to the longer stretches of sleep that occur overnight.
Create a bedtime routine and stick to it
The bedtime routine is a non-negotiable part of the change. You must create a routine and stick to it. The sleep associations of your baby’s routine will prepare him for sleep and promote a successful transition.
Here’s my typical bedtime routine: dress the baby in the sleep sack, turn down the lights, and feed the baby in the rocking chair. Baby will fall asleep during the feed. Once she’s in a deep sleep, I place her in her crib.
If you have already established a routine for putting your baby down to sleep in the bassinet, then just stick to what they are already used to. If your baby is used to the noise of a sound machine or soft music, then make sure you continue these in its new space.
The new crib is big, it’s a big space even for your growing babe. How can you make it a cozy, warm inviting space? Start by buying a high-quality comfortable yet firm crib mattress and make sure it has a clean tightly-fitted sheet.
If are thinking of covering the crib with stuffed animals, you are advised to shy away from that. To minimize the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends having nothing in the crib. Items such as loose blankets and bumper pads are considered a suffocation hazard.
Now, no matter how old the baby is, there are safe, harmonious ways to add comfort. The lighting, the sheets, and the temperature of the room can all work together to create a fresh, soft environment to give your baby sweet dreams.
Is there something about the bassinet your baby loves? The familiar smell of their sheets? The mobile that plays and turns above their head? The lulling sound of a white noise machine? As much as possible keep these things constant and carry them over into the new sleep environment.
Try a sleep sack
I’m currently loving our Nested Bean Zen sleep sack. It’s essentially a wearable blanket that keeps our baby cozy and warm in her big crib. This is a great option for babies that are also weaning out of their swaddle.
We try to keep the routine and use it for both naps and bedtime. It worked great for helping us transition from the Snoo to her own crib. I even pack it with us when we travel.
Expect some tears
Expect there to be some tears during this transition process. Whether you decide to go with the cry-it-out method is a personal decision. But don’t expect it to be a tear-free transition.
I personally did allow for some crying the first night we moved her into her crib. I would allow her to cry for a few minutes in the crib to give her the chance to self-soothe. If she continued to cry I would pat her bottom as she lay in bed crying. Sometimes this would put her back to sleep.
If gentle pats didn’t work, I would rock her back to sleep in my arms, then place her back in her crib.
Give yourself and your baby some grace
Don’t forget that this is a big change for your baby. They are leaving the comfort of the first safe sleep space they have ever known.
Don’t expect them to sleep in their own room from the first night. Expect some middle-of-the-night wake-ups.
Be patient with your baby. He is gonna be giggling soon enough as he rolls around the corners of the crib. One of the best, little smiles, mine has given me.
The number one reason transitioning your baby to a new sleep space will fail is lack of consistency. If you are consistent with your bedtime, sleep routine, and sleep space, your baby will develop the positive sleep association needed to adapt to its new routine.
Take a deep breath. While this might sound really difficult and challenging, try not to stress over it.
Remember babies thrive on consistency, and this post gives you the tools you need for a smooth transition.
Soon, the whole family will adapt to this sleeping routine where sleep happens for a full night. That’s right, you’ll soon have another new thing to be excited about – restful sleep!
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