Either quit cold turkey, or transition over 3-5 days. First, reduce the level of vibration on the Rock ‘n Play until baby falls asleep on their own. Next, use the crib for naps and create a sleep environment with black out shades, sound machines, and consistent routine.
Rock n’ Play to Crib Transition
In 2019 the popular baby product, the Rock n’ Play Sleeper, was recalled due to infant deaths. The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) stated that the Rock n’ Play, created by Fisher-Price, is unsafe due to infants’ risk of rolling over or turning into the side padding.
It was intended for babies who are not yet rolling over or attempting to roll. Rolling usually starts at about 4-4.5 months when your baby begins to develop motor control.
The AAP recommends instead that babies sleep in a crib on a flat mattress without blankets or toys.
Parents everywhere loved Fisher Price’s Rock n’ Play for years because of its ability to help babies sleep better and longer. It features a 30-degree incline, vibrations, and a contained environment.
Because of the Rock n’ Play’s coziness and familiarity, many babies struggle to sleep after leaving it for a crib.
All parents are familiar with the hours of missed sleep from a crying baby who won’t fall asleep in the crib.
It is incredibly frustrating, and many will try any option to get their baby to fall asleep.
However, if you are still using the Rock n’ Play, now is the time to transition to the crib!
This article will provide some tips for making the adjustment a little easier.
Quit Cold Turkey
The safest way to make the transition is to quit the Rock n’ Play cold turkey.
Although it may take lots of soothing from you to comfort your baby in the crib and many sleepless nights, this is the recommended method.
Here are some ways to make quitting the Rock n’ Play cold turkey a little easier.
One reason why parents and babies alike loved the Rock n’ Play for so many years was the comforting feeling of containment that it creates. Babies enjoy feeling snug and warm.
Containment also prevents sudden middle of the night wake-ups due to the startle reflex.
To recreate that cozy environment of the Rock n’ Play in the crib, try swaddling. Be sure to follow the safety guidelines set by the AAP to ensure safe sleeping.
At some point, usually around 4 or 5 months of age, you should transition out of swaddling. At about four months, babies are starting to roll and wiggle.
Swaddling while your baby is becoming more physically active may result in loose blankets in the crib, which can be dangerous.
After four months, a sleep sack is an excellent option if your baby only sleeps when feeling contained. A sleepsack is a little nighttime outfit that provides some extra room in the legs for movement.
Sleepsacks come in sizes intended for newborns up to toddler age and different materials depending on the season or climate.
You can choose the best option for your little one, so they do not get too hot or cold.
For younger babies, the sleep sack contains the arms. Some sleepsacks allow the baby’s arms to be out while still preventing them from startling awake for those who are starting to wiggle. Your baby will feel snug and safe!
Sound machines help people of all ages fall asleep to calming white noise. White noise and even sounds that mimic mom’s heartbeat may help babies adjusting to sleeping in a crib.
The AAP suggests researching the decibel level of the noise machine. Exceeding their 50-decibel limit may cause long term hearing issues.
They recommend placing any sound device at least 7 feet from the crib and setting it lower than maximum volume.
Create a Routine
To prepare your baby for sleeping in his crib, try creating a 20-minute bedtime routine.
When you repeatedly do the same activities at the same time each night, your baby starts to recognize when it is time to sleep.
Keeping the familiar routine helps relax your baby and prepare them for a great night of sleep.
For example, at 7 p.m., feed, bathe, change their diaper, and get your baby into their pajamas.
Then, gently place them in their crib, turn on the sound machine, and give him a gentle massage or back rub.
Hopefully, over a few days, your baby will begin to feel comfortable being in the crib and will easily fall asleep. Consistency is key!
Blackout shades filter out the majority of natural light. Sleeping in the crib is much more comfortable in a relaxing, dark, and cool room.
Blackout shades are especially useful for newborns who sleep during the day while the sun is out and the nursery is bright. Check out Next Day Blinds or Easyblinds for different options.
If you don’t want to invest in installing shades, you can buy removable window covers that quickly and easily transform a bright room into a dark, calm space.
Transitioning your baby to sleeping in the crib might be made a little easier with this product.
Wean Off Over A Few Days
Another way to transition from the Rock n’ Play to the crib is to wean your baby over a few days. The next few suggestions are tips on how to wean your baby off the Rock n’ Play.
If you have chosen to have a slower transition from the Rock n’ Play, make sure your baby is still not trying to roll over.
Rolling over is extremely unsafe in the Rock n’ Play, so a “cold turkey” method would be ideal. Also, ensure your baby wears the safety harness correctly.
1. Use the Crib for Napping
One way to transition your baby from a Rock n’ Play sleeper to a crib is first to use the crib for napping.
Starting with once a day, place your baby down in the crib for a nap. Then, move to two naps a day in the crib.
Eventually, you can put them down for a night of sleep in the crib, and they will already feel comfortable and familiar.
2. Level of Vibration
The Rock n’ Play features several levels of movement to comfort your baby. Many babies enjoy the soothing vibration and would struggle to sleep in the crib without it.
The repetitive movement stimulates their developing nervous system, which is calming and reassuring. If this is the case, try putting your baby to bed with a lower level of vibration.
After your baby falls asleep, turn the vibrations off. Over a few nights, decrease the intensity level so that your baby slowly gets used to falling asleep to no movement.
3. Sleeping Device
It can be hard when your baby starts sleeping in a crib in the nursery instead of being just a few feet away. To make the situation easier on your stress levels, consider a sleeping device.
There are tons of products with different features on the market, including the Babysense 7 Baby Breathing Movement Monitor.
Some sleeping devices are monitors with sensors that recognize when your baby is up and may need you.
If you feel overwhelmed by the transition to the crib, a sleeping device might give you a little reassurance.
Because your baby is used to the incline of the Rock n Play, you might be tempted to use a crib positioner to recreate the tilt.
However, the AAP says that sleep positioners should not be used because of the safety risks.
If your baby is still struggling to sleep in the crib and is at least four months old, consider sleep training.
There are many popular ways to sleep train, such as the Cry It Out method, the No-Cry method, and the Chair Method.
If you are interested in learning more about these methods, head to www.sleep.org.
If you still cannot get your baby to sleep regularly, talk to your pediatrician about how to move forward. Remember, all babies are different.
You may need to experiment and adjust your practices as you go to figure out the best way to get your baby on a successful sleeping schedule.
You are not alone in this challenge. I wish you the best of luck in your journey to sleep for you AND your little one!