The time has come, your baby is getting bigger, and you’re approaching one of the first big transitions of your little one’s life: the transition out of a bassinet or cradle into their crib. Sleep is a comforting state for your baby, and to be thrust into a new, unfamiliar setup for sleeping can be really daunting to a young one. However, as much as they may fuss, YOU are doing it with their best interests at heart. So how do you tackle this major change-up? Let’s talk over some strategies!
#1 Just Do It!
You’ve finally managed to figure out the trick to helping your kiddo knock out for the night. You’ve become a pro at it, as a matter of fact! And now you have to completely recalibrate by moving your baby into a crib?! Oy vey! We understand, it can be difficult, but the first thing to bear in mind is to just do it! Start making the change even if that is a gradual one — which it should be. Your baby will adapt and the whole fussy stage will be a thing of the past in no time!
#2 Gradual Process
We said ‘gradual’ a moment ago, but that is such a key element, that we want to really drive that point home! While the decision to make these transitions needs to be an immediate one, as previously mentioned, once actions are put in place to make the transition from bassinet or cradle to crib, you’ll want to do it in gradual ways. A shock value, or sudden adjustments, aren’t going to prove very helpful. A couple ways to be gradual are:
- Naps in Crib: Simply getting your baby accustomed to their new sleep arrangement is crucial. So for that reason, whenever they’re getting ready for a nap, if you’re home, go ahead and put them in the crib for that, as opposed to staying comfortable with you on the couch, etc.
- Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst: As you may have assumed, being placed in the crib for naps or for bedtime may not render the best response out of your little one. While there are cases where babies will be entirely unfazed by their new sleep setting, others may cry… and cry… and cry. If crying is the result, unfortunately, sometimes you may need to let it run its course. Your child will need to develop an adaptation to being in this unfamiliar space. As a parent, you learn to distinguish between your baby’s cries, so if something becomes concerning, obviously address it, but otherwise, see if they can adjust.
- Positive Reinforcement: Positive reinforcement is a super powerful tool, when utilized correctly. If you comfort your baby when they are ‘crying wolf’, so to speak, you will be positively reinforcing to them that whenever they cry, you’ll be there to save the day! What you can do, instead, is for the ‘cry wolf’ cases, simply wait until it has run its course, and then enter the area providing a hug or some physical contact to reinforce that they are okay, and subconsciously that they did a good job of adapting to their crib setup.
#3 Experimentation & Considerations
One final thing to keep in mind is that any major transition will never be solved with a one-size-fits-all approach. As you go through this transition, be sure to experiment with different options. For instance, if you notice that that putting your baby in their crib for a nap after they have already fallen asleep leads to them waking up crying, maybe try putting them in their crib for a nap before they have actually fallen asleep. This is just one example of exploring the different options. The goal isn’t to stubbornly abide to an approach that you think will work in the end, but to find a solution that WILL work, achieving the end result of your baby’s sound sleep in their new sleeper crib. If that mission is complete, then you did it the right way for your baby!
A good consideration is to think ahead to the next big transition. Don’t fret yourself over it, but just have it in mind. It’ll make the transition easier when it actually arrives! As you’re going into the crib transition and are thinking into the future when a two-year-old bed setup enters the equation, neck support will begin to be something to think about. Look to Dreamtown Kids‘ pillows to help provide that support when the time comes.
In conclusion, transitions are not always easy for your baby. But their vital steps in their life that need to be taken one way or another, with bassinet and cradle to crib transitions being no exception! Take some of the ideas expressed above and give them a go for yourself, and for all other guidance with your little ones, remember to always look to the pros at Dreamtown Kids!