If you’re anything like me, you had your little one’s nursery ready and waiting for their arrival, however most babies don’t sleep in their nursery right away. They typically room in with their parents for at least some length of time for ease of handling those night wakings and night feedings. The American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend room sharing for the first 6 months of their life, if not the full 12 months of life.
Recent research does suggest that everyone typically sleeps better in their own space, especially at 4+ months of age so if you plan to move your child to their own room, then please speak with your physician prior to doing so! If they’re outgrowing the bassinet, but you aren’t ready for them to be in a crib in their room, then you can move their crib into your room on a temporary basis.
Remember to check your bassinet’s user manual for age/size/ability limits to know exactly how long you’re able to use it. Some will say not to use after a certain amount months, a specific weight/height, and/or to discontinue use when they’re rolling or getting on hands and knees.
So how do you accomplish the transition from bassinet to crib and make it as smooth as possible?
If you’re transitioning your baby into their room as well as their crib then we want to make sure their room is a familiar space to them! Go into their room frequently during the day for feedings, diaper changes, and play time. You can even allow them to do some tummy time in their crib with some new and exciting toys like a light up mirror or a mobile (remove these for sleep times).
After you’ve done that, you can sleep with their sheet for a few nights so that it has a familiar smell to them.
Then, you can start by doing one nap a day in their crib. Usually the first nap will be the easiest! You can start to incorporate more naps from there or start with bedtime and let them spend more and more of the night in their crib. If you're not sure about baby sleep schedules, check out that blog!
If you’d like to get them more familiar with the room first and they can still use the bassinet, then you can move the bassinet to their room before moving to the crib! Another way to ease them into the transition is to sleep in the nursery with them (in a separate space) for a few nights before they sleep in there alone.
If you haven’t already, this is a great time to create a bedtime routine for baby. I usually suggest something simple including feeding, bathing, lotion massage, Kyte BABY soft baby pajamas and bamboo sleep bags, white noise, rocking with a special bedtime lullaby for bonding, and then putting them down for sleep but you can read more about what to include in bedtime routines in the blog!
If you’re wondering if this is all absolutely necessary to have a successful transition to the crib, the answer is… no! You can make the switch cold turkey, you can do it from day one at home, whatever works best for you and your little one! You know them best as well as yourself, so make the decision that suits you.
Ashley Olson is a certified pediatric sleep consultant, owner of Heaven Sent Sleep, and passionate about helping new parents, experienced parents, desperate and sleep deprived parents form healthy sleep habits for their children.
She has over 3 years of experience in working with families and has completed over 150 hours of coursework plus continuing education related to infant and toddler sleep. The focus of her work is on fostering a routine that grows your bond with your child while improving their sleep habits. She specializes in custom sleep plans and one on one support in changing sleep practices!