With all of my newborns, I didn’t choose to co-sleep due to safety concerns. What if my baby falls from the bed or even worse gets tangled in our big sheets and suffocates?
Thousands of thoughts like these ran through my mind when I had my first one. And for this very reason, I always emphasize the importance of letting your baby sleep in a crib rather than co-sleeping.
However, based on a survey in 2015, around 61.4% of mothers reported bed-sharing with their babies.1 This is a very high number and a dangerous one too. Ideally, you shouldn’t be co-sleeping with your infants for at least the first year.2
Surely, for some parents getting their baby to transition from co-sleeping to a crib is undoubtedly difficult. However, it is very necessary. Therefore, I suggest building a strong bedtime routine and placing your newborn in a crib from the initial days.
Some approaches and tricks can make this transition to the baby crib easier, but not every method will work for every baby. So, if you’re feeling the pressure of helping your baby become accustomed to sleeping in a crib, this guide is for you!
I’ll explain some effective ways and tips to ensure a smooth transition so you can ease your worry about how to get your baby to sleep in a crib after co-sleeping.
Table of Contents
Why Should Babies Sleep in the Crib?
First things first, why should I transition my baby to a crib, you may ask?
I understand that sleeping with your baby can bring parents and their little ones joy that can’t be expressed in words, but what if I were to tell you that there are various life-threatening risks associated with co-sleeping?
One study claims that co-sleeping can increase the chances of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) and no parents want to jeopardize their little one’s safety.
Sometimes, it is more than just safety, some parents especially the working ones prefer sleeping independently to avoid nighttime wakeups.
Also, babies sleep best when they’re surrounded by some boundaries and rails to save them from falling. It also saves you from the hassle of constantly monitoring while your baby gets some shut-eye. So it’s a win-win situation for both.
And, I agree it takes a while to transition your baby to a crib successfully. Still, with consistency and effective sleep training, which I’ll discuss below, you can easily familiarize your baby with the crib.
When is the Ideal Time to Transition Your Baby From Co-Sleeping to a Crib?
There’s no specific age that’s considered the ideal time for transitioning your baby to their crib. My advice, much like that of a real estate agent, would be that today is the best day to make the move.
Some people do it within the first week, while others may wait for a month or even longer.
I’d recommend transitioning your baby to a crib as soon as possible because waiting longer might make it more challenging and raise questions about how to get your baby to sleep in a crib after co-sleeping. Begin by taking turns initially, with one partner sleeping while the other stays with the baby, and then gradually transition them to the crib completely.
Babies tend to become accustomed to sleeping in your arms and on your chest or right next to you, so it certainly takes some time to get them used to the crib. Start with short naps and gradually increase the duration they spend in the crib.
If your child is used to co-sleeping, you can initially let them sleep with you, but once they are asleep, gently place them in the crib. If your baby wakes up, repeat this routine 2 to 3 times, and over time, they will develop a connection with the crib as their new sleeping place.
Can You Transition from Co-Sleeping to a Crib? How?
Yes, you can transition from co-sleeping to a crib. It may take some time and patience, but with the right approach and guidance, it’s possible to help your baby adapt to sleeping in a crib.
As your baby is used to sleeping with you, so they prefer your warmth and scent. These factors make them feel secure enough to sleep peacefully. So, when transitioning them to a crib, ensure you set it up in a way that feels familiar to your baby.
Go for similar bedding or sheets (must be breathable and as per crib safety standards), and try to spend quality time in a crib with your adorable human so they become familiar with it and find it easy to sleep.
Inspect the crib for safety assurance, and ensure it’s backed by the standards set by JPMA.3 Position the crib in the middle of the room or close to your bed so that your baby knows you’re right there for them.
1. Proven Methods for a Gradual Transition
There are various approaches to solve the mystery of how to get your baby to sleep in the crib after co-sleeping but one that usually works the best is the gradual transition approach.
I’d suggest you try my personally used trick, cradle your baby before putting them in a crib as that will get them dizzy and straight to sleep.
Take guidance from the video above to gradually transition your baby to a crib.
Remember to keep it consistent with the transition. Even if your baby is sleeping for a short nap, it’s still progress, so keep at it!
Also, as I mentioned above, set the crib in a way that feels familiar and comforting, and use similar bedding and bedtime routines so your baby doesn’t struggle much while transitioning.
2. Methods to Sleep Train and Help Your Baby Self-Soothe
Sleep training lets your baby develop a bedtime routine that eventually helps them fall asleep independently. But often, we parents don’t get the science behind sleep training right away (trust me).
So, what to do?
Pediatricians recommend various sleep training approaches, but some of the most effective ones are Ferber, Cry It Out, and No Tears.
The Cry-It-Out method is more stringent than the Ferber method, as you do not check on your baby after placing them in the crib. However, you should ensure they are well-fed and comfortable before bedtime.
In the No Tears method, you place your baby in the crib when they are drowsy but awake. If they wake up and start crying, you pick them up, console them, and then put them back in the crib.
Personally, if you ask me, I would recommend the Ferber method, as it is neither as harsh as Cry-It-Out nor as time-consuming as No Tears. With either of these methods, your baby will eventually learn to self-soothe and sleep better!
3. Be Mindful Of The Common Reasons
Your baby is used to sleeping snuggly with you so when you move them into a crib they start to feel unsafe and alone, developing separation anxiety.
If this is your baby then hear me out!
Firstly, separation anxiety is a sensitive issue that should never be overlooked, as it can adversely affect your baby’s health and lead to nighttime wakeups.
As a parent, I ensured a smooth transition for my newborn to the crib to avoid separation anxiety. Initially, I kept the crib close to the bed, and over some time I moved the crib away from my bed. I followed this routine until my baby became completely comfortable with sleeping alone.
Another useful tip to familiarize your baby with the crib is to allow them to have some playtime and lullaby sessions in the crib throughout the day. This helps your little one develop a positive association with their new sleeping space.
4. Timely Monitor the Transition Progress
Following your baby’s transition to a crib is essential as that will give you an insight into how much progress your baby has made with the transition. Babies are fragile and want you at every step of their growth. They communicate with their cries and irritated reactions so always be on alert.
Monitor the progress your baby has made with the transition, if they’re showing positive progress then it’s a good thing. But, if they’re resisting sleeping in a crib try tricks like putting them in a swaddle at bedtime as that will give them a comfy feeling.
5. Importance of Celebrating Simple Milestones
Shifting your baby from co-sleeping on the same bed to a crib is neither easy for us parents nor our bundle of joys. So, acknowledging little milestones even if it’s only a 15-minute nap, is worth it.
I can envision you as a stressed-out parent, concerned about how to get your baby to sleep in a crib after co-sleeping, instead of dealing with frequent nighttime wakeups every hour. Therefore, it’s crucial not to overlook the significance of your baby displaying signs of adjusting to sleeping in a crib.
Celebrating small milestones means a lot, especially for new parents, as that keeps them positive throughout the whole parenting journey. And if you’re happy, then it’ll have a direct positive effect on your little one.
Getting Your Baby to Sleep in Crib After Co-sleeping FAQs
1. When should you stop co-sleeping with your baby?
Typically, experts recommend room-sharing without bed-sharing for at least the first six months to one year before moving them to their room. If you delay this transition beyond that timeframe, there is a heightened risk of resistance and an increased risk of SIDS.5
2. What are the long-term effects of co-sleeping?
Co-sleeping with your baby for way too long can lead to effects such as a lack of independence for your baby, and a stressful household especially because of the lack of a healthy sleep pattern.
3. At what age do babies usually develop sleep patterns?
Usually, around the age of 4 to 9 months, babies develop their sleep patterns and sleep without any night wakeups.
4. What is the happy sleeper wave method?
In this method, parents visit their baby every 5 minutes once their baby starts crying.
They try to console their baby by saying soothing stuff such as “I love you” and singing lullabies to get their baby to feel secure and peaceful enough to sleep back.
Conclusion on the Transition from Co-Sleeping to Crib
We parents want the best for our babies especially when it comes to their safety and as co-sleeping can be a hazard for your baby, so transitioning to a crib has become a necessity.
Transitioning your baby to the crib is never easy, it’s a process filled with challenges that only be solved with the proper understanding of things. Such as consistent practice, sleep training, creating a welcoming crib environment, monitoring your baby’s transition to a crib, and celebrating small wins certainly ease the transition.
I hope this guide answered your questions and gave you the confidence to start transitioning your baby to a crib. So, put your worries about how to get your baby to sleep in a crib after co-sleeping to rest, and let’s get started!
References and Footnotes:
- https://archive.cdc.gov/#/details?url=https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p0109-sleep-related-deaths.html ↩︎
- https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/is-it-safe-to-cosleep-with-a-toddler ↩︎
- https://www.jpma.org/page/parents_crib_safety ↩︎
- https://www.scripps.org/news_items/7375-what-are-the-best-sleep-training-methods-for-babies ↩︎
- https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/about/sids-definition ↩︎