Although bassinets are a great co-sleeping/shared room solution, most babies will transition from a bassinet to a crib around 2-3 months of age. Begin by using the crib for nap time, stay close for a few nights, create a calming environment, and keep bedtime routines consistent.
It is common for younger babies (birth up to one year) to sleep in a bassinet in the same room as their parents.
Babies grow and change so much within the first year that they will likely need a new sleeping environment once they are comfortable in the bassinet.
Transitioning your baby from sleeping in a bassinet in your room to sleeping in a crib in a separate room is a big adjustment. Honestly, it is probably a bigger adjustment for you as the parent than for your baby.
Knowing when to begin the transition process and some things you can do to make it go as smoothly as possible should give you peace of mind.
As parents, your ultimate goal is always that your little one sleeps through the night so that you can sleep through the whole night as well.
When Should I Begin the Transition?
As you have probably become very accustomed to hearing as a parent, it depends on the child. Most children transition from the bassinet to the crib at 2 to 3 months of age.
This is the general timeline because most children weigh 10 – 20 pounds at 2-3 months of age, and bassinets typically have a 10-20 pound weight limit for safety.
You should be able to find the weight limit for your specific bassinet make and model in either the instruction manual or on the manufacturer’s website.
If you can’t locate the bassinet’s weight limit, move your little one to a crib once they reach 15 pounds
Even if your little one doesn’t exceed the recommended weight, they should be transitioned to the crib if:
They Have Outgrown It
You will know your little one has outgrown their bassinet when they look cramped.
Their head and feet might be touching the ends of the bassinet, or they keep bumping the sides of the bassinet.
Some babies are born taller or sprout up faster than others meaning they might outgrow the bassinet quicker.
If your little one keeps bumping the sides of the bassinet, this may be affecting their ability to sleep through the night without waking up, so giving them more space may help them stay asleep longer.
They Are Not Sleeping Well
One sign that you might want to transition your baby to a crib, is if they are not sleeping for long stretches during the night while in your room.
They may need more space, or it may be that your movement during the night is disrupting your little one’s sleep.
Sometimes having them sleep in another room will help everyone sleep better.
They Are Becoming More Mobile
Once they can roll over or sit up, they should transition from a bassinet to a crib. Bassinets are not deep enough to keep a mobile little one safely contained.
They Can Grab Things
You know that anything they grab usually goes straight into their mouth. This is a concern if you are using a wicker or Moses basket as a bassinet with pieces that can break off and become a choking hazard.
If the bassinet has an attached mobile, it may also be a good time to remove the mobile or transition them to a crib where it is out of arm’s reach.
Being Ready vs. Being Prepared Are Two Different Things
Keep in mind that while your baby might be ready to transition from the bassinet to the crib, they will not be prepared to sleep in their room until they are between 6 to 12 months of age.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you have your infant sleep in the same room with you for the first 6 months.
And it is ideal to continue room-sharing with your baby for the whole first year to reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 50%.
So you should save some space for their crib in your room until they are at least six months old (or even up to a year old) and can sleep safely in a separate bedroom.
If you want to transition your child into a crib in their room before 6-12 months of age, you should discuss it with your doctor.
How Do I Transition Them From The Bassinet to The Crib?
Although the transition process is often a bigger adjustment for parents than for babies, following these suggestions will help your little one transition as smoothly as possible.
Start With Nap-time
Introduce the crib during naps. When your little one is ready to make the transition, start putting your baby to sleep in the crib during nap-time.
Do this for a few weeks to become accustomed to the new sleeping environment before sleeping in the crib at bedtime.
You can also put them in the crib for tummy time during the day to give them more time in the new crib. If they struggle with falling asleep in the crib during nap time, try introducing the crib at bedtime.
For some babies, falling asleep at bedtime is easier because they are more tired than at nap-time. The more tired your little one is, the less likely they are to complain about their sleeping environment.
Stay Close By
Put the crib in your bedroom (at first). You may want to put the crib in the same bedroom with you for younger babies and then move the crib to its permanent location later.
If space is a problem, consider purchasing a mini crib instead of a regular crib. Regular cribs are quite heavy and difficult to move.
Mini cribs are smaller, saving you space, and they can also easily fit through doorways and be transferred between bedrooms.
Sleep In The Baby’s Room
If they are ready to sleep on their own, you can sleep in the baby’s new room on an air mattress for a few nights to ease your mind.
After this, install a baby monitor to provide that peace of mind without being in the same room with them.
Nowadays, there is a wide selection of baby monitors to choose from.
Things To Do At Bedtime
Ensure that you are as consistent as possible by putting your baby to sleep in the same crib, which is in the same spot in the house for nap-time and bedtime.
The consistency will help them know what to expect and should help them transition quicker.
Follow The Same Bedtime Routine Every Night
This bedtime routine can include bathing them (use a lavender body wash to help them relax), reading them a book, snuggling/massaging them, and then putting them in the crib to sleep.
Your little one will become accustomed to this routine, and it will signal their brain to get ready for being in the crib.
Try Putting Your Baby To Sleep In A Sleep Sack
Your little one has likely moved on from being swaddled, but a sleep sack will replicate the comfort and warmth swaddling provides.
A sleep sack will help keep them warm since the crib should only have a fitted crib sheet for safety purposes. The big difference between a crib and a bassinet is the amount of open space a crib provides.
To provide the feelings of security, put your little one in a sleep sack when they are getting used to falling asleep in a crib.
It’s similar to the feeling of swaddling but is safer for babies that have outgrown this stage and can rollover.
Create A Calming Environment
Even though you should not put any soft things (blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals) in the crib, you can create a calm sleeping environment using dim lights and getting a white noise machine to provide some background noise.
Stay Until The Baby Is Asleep
If you are sleeping in a separate room from your baby, stay in the room with them until they fall asleep.
You can start close to the crib and slowly move away as they start falling asleep. Or you can also spend a whole night close the crib and move further from the crib the next night until you are out the door.
Adjusting to Change is Hard
Remember, you are probably more worried about your little one’s sleeping environment than they are. But the transition from bassinet to crib will certainly be a change for both you and your little one.
Once they fully transition to a crib and their new room, your room may feel a bit empty.
But the good news is that you will get to reclaim your personal space while allowing your little one to have their own space as well.