How to get baby to sleep in Crib
Let me guess, your baby can fall asleep just about anywhere, right? In the car, in the stroller, in your arms, or in their high chair, but when it comes to putting your baby in their crib, they aren't having it?
Creating good sleep habits from the start can be difficult for many parents, especially when it comes to sleep training in a crib. Hopefully this guide will help you to create an optimal sleep environment for your little bundle of love.
Why Won't Your Baby Sleep in the Crib?
The newborn stage can be especially difficult for sleep patterns. Imagine, your little one just spent nine months inside the womb, surrounded by gentle movement, warmth, and white noise. And now you're asking them to do what?! Sleep in a crib? No way, mama. They're not having it.
Babies and toddler's also have their preferences when it comes to falling asleep. A toddler may prefer the warmth of their parents to help the get better sleep. Breaking a co sleeping relationship can be very confusing and scary for a small child, but creating a soothing bedtime routine can help make the transition successful.
Getting Your Baby to Sleep in Their Crib
Creating a positive and consistent bedtime routine is perhaps one of the most vital parenting tips for getting your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep in their crib.
It is also essential to take child safety into account when preparing their sleep space. You can refer to our article on sleeping with a blanket for best practices and sleep safety for your newborn or infant.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, best practices involve putting your baby to sleep in their own space, on a firm mattress free of blankets, loose articles, or other suffocation risks. It is best to place baby's crib in the same room as you for the first six to 12 months of life, if you have the space available to do so. This will help many babies to adjust to sleeping in their own bed, while still remaining close to their caregiver.
Here are some more tips to help your baby fall asleep and transition into their own crib:
- Bedtime Routine. Parents who successfully create a bedtime routine for their baby help their child to feel safer with predictable habits that lead to better sleep. It is best to create a routine that can be used whenever it is time for the child to sleep, and not only at bedtime.
- Room Temperature. Sleep research shows that baby wakes more frequently and can become easily overheated, a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) when the temperature in the room is too hot. According to WebMD, the ideal room temperature for a sleeping baby is 68-72 degrees.
- White Noise. Falling asleep with a white noise machine is much easier for younger babies who are used to the comforts of the womb. If you do not have a white noise machine, you can also download several white noise sounds right to your phone via a white noise app.
- Swaddle or Sleep Sack. You can help your baby fall asleep easier by providing them with a sleep sack or swaddle. It is important to note that a swaddle should only be used while your baby is too small to roll over. These are known to help many baby's fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Scent. One of the most comforting things a baby learns is the scent of their mother, or caregiver. For babies who are struggling to fall asleep, spending the night with their sleeper blanket or pajamas in order to place your scent in the crib can help them to self soothe and fall asleep better at bedtime.
- Lighting. Keeping baby asleep all night long can be a challenge, but keeping things dark at night and the environment calm and peaceful can help your baby to transition to their crib more easily.
- Feedings. No one likes to sleep on an empty stomach. Laying your little one down in a crib with a full stomach will ensure she's drowsy. Remember that newborns and babies require feedings multiple times a night, every two to three hours.
Sleep Training Methods to Encourage Sleep in a Crib
Sleep training can be a successful way of getting your baby to rest in their crib. This method called sleep training is a type of sleep intervention that encourages your baby to fall asleep on their own. Techniques range from letting baby cry it out to a parent staying in the room with their little one while they learn to rest independently for nap and at night. These methods are usually started between four and six months old and are not recommended for a newborn. Although many have steered away from the full fledged crying method, there are some great tips that can be taken from training your little one to nap and rest independently. The key is remaining consistent with the routine you choose.
Creating a Bedtime Routine
Some ideas for a successful bed time include small, short actions like putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, and reading a short book when you notice your little one is drowsy. Parents should begin to learn the signs of drowsiness in their baby to help identify when it is best to start the routine. It is also best to ease into a crib for those used to sleeping with parents so that there is not a drastic change overnight.
For babies who begin crying the moment they are placed in their crib, sometimes a gentle tummy rub, a song, or short book will help to calm them and let them know their parents are near. If baby won't sleep in the crib at first, remember that getting your baby to sleep in their crib does take time and patience.
Tips for Helping Baby Sleep in the Crib
Getting your newborn or young baby to sleep in their crib can be a process. It is recommended that you begin by having your baby first nap in their crib to get used to the new sleep environment. Naps help your baby to get familiar with the new space, learn that it is a safe environment, and this will eventually lead to feeling safe at night.
Experts recommend placing your baby in their crib awake at the first signs of being drowsy in order to help your baby learn to associate their crib with sleep, for both naps and bedtime. Short naps in their crib, in their room will help both babies get acquainted with their sleep space.
If your baby cries and does not want to sleep in the crib, perhaps a pacifier will help to self soothe to sleep.
How to Get an Older Baby to Sleep in Their Crib
There are situations when a newborn who slept perfectly in their crib suddenly wants nothing to do with sleep in the crib. Remember that baby's and toddlers go through sleep cycles, including deep dream sleep and light sleep, much like adults. Sleep regression can occur at various ages throughout their development as periods of light sleep and dream sleep fluctuate for the needs of the baby.
It is important not to grow frustrated if this happens. Instead,
Keep what works
Determining what helps your child sleep can be very beneficial for helping them to get back into the crib.
Make the crib fun and exciting
Babies and toddlers like sleeping in their bed when it is enticing. Things like letting them pick out their own bedding can be very fun and appealing. Or allowing them to spend quiet time in their bed with a book or favorite toy can help your baby to develop positive experiences around the crib.
Movement is soothing, which is why it's often easy for your newborn or baby to fall asleep in the car, in their carrier, or in a swing. Consider adding a vibrating mattress pad to your baby's crib to provide soothing movement.
Making sure your little one is developmentally ready to sleep in their crib is an ongoing learning process for parents for babies. Finding methods that work will vary for each family and the key is staying consistent with what works, and eliminating what doesn't work. What's most important is creating good sleep habits that work for both baby and parents so that everyone in the household's needs are taken care of.
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