Is your baby’s sleeping space looking a little cramped? If they’re still in a bassinet, it may be time to move them to a crib.
So, what are signs that the baby is outgrowing their bassinet, and how you transition to a crib?
Here are some tips for safe sleeping if you’re thinking of making the switch, and some signs that your baby may be getting too big for their bassinet.
Weight Limits Are Important
When you first purchased your baby’s bassinet, you may have noticed that it had a weight limit listed somewhere. If you didn’t, generally the weight limit goes from 10 to 20 pounds for most bassinets.
Though it isn’t the only method of figuring out whether your baby’s too big, it’s a great place to start. When you purchase your little one’s bassinet, you’ll want to make a note of the weight limit on it as well.
Assess How The Bassinet Holds Them
The mattress in a bassinet is usually rather thin. If your baby’s outgrowing their bassinet, you may notice it bow out a little.
Also, pay close attention to how your growing little one fits in the bassinet. If it’s hard for them to move without bumping into something, it may be time for them to upgrade to a crib. You don’t want your baby to bump their little heads very often.
Meeting Those Milestones
Most babies are ready to move from a bassinet to a crib between 4 and 6 months, but each baby is different.
When your little one begins to sit up and role over, bassinets are likely no longer the best choice for them.
Think about it – with all that moving around, the bassinet could easily tip over, or your little one may fall out. Yikes!
Trust Your Instincts!
Do you feel comfortable leaving your little one alone in the bassinet? If your powerful mom instincts are telling you no, then it may be time for something bigger and better.
It won’t be difficult to know if your little one looks cramped or uncomfortable, or if they look like they might hurt themselves. Even though there are so many different ways to tell when it’s time for a crib, it’s also good to go with your intuition.
Time For That Crib
Now that you know the signs that your baby is ready for a crib, it’s time to learn how to make the big switch.
Fair warning: babies are creatures of habit, so it will take them some time to get used to their new sleeping arrangement.
Here are some evidence-based tips that will help you and your little one get used to the change.
Tips to Help Transition to a Crib
1. Get A Spacious, Full-Sized Crib
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is chock full of trustworthy health information, and they recommend that your crib be large enough to hold your growing baby.
Trust me, by the time they’re ready for a crib, your little one is going to grow like a weed! Growth spurts, anyone?
2. Practice Proper Sleep Safety
The AAP also states that a firm mattress is best for your little one as it makes it more difficult for them to end up in dangerous positions while sleeping.
They also recommend keeping things such as pillows and blankets out of the way. This ensures that your baby will be okay if they move around during the night.
Finally, put your baby on their back to sleep – this is considered the safest sleeping position. Not only is it comfortable, but it also reduces the chance of SIDS.
3. Comfortable Crib Environments
It’s incredible how much temperature can affect sleep!
The best temperature for a baby’s sleep is between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn down the lights, add some white noise if it suits your baby, and make sure the sheets are nice and warm.
If your baby is used to having you near, it may help if the sheets have your scent. Try sleeping with them near you before putting them in the crib.
4. Slowly Transition To The Crib
At first, try having your child take naps in the crib while also allowing them to sleep in their old bassinet at night.
This will help them get used to the transition gradually since sudden changes can confuse and disturb them.
Once they start sleeping well in the crib, try putting them to sleep in it more and more until they’re sleeping exclusively in the crib.
5. Stay For A While Before Baby Falls Asleep
Your presence is a source of comfort for your little one. If your baby is feeling safe, then they’re more likely to go to sleep.
Once you’re sure that they’re fast asleep and comfortable, you can try leaving them for a while if you need to. This will also help you understand what will help them sleep in their new environment.
6. Sleep In The Same Room
If your child is used to having you near, it may help them sleep better if you’re in the same room.
Besides that, the AAP recommends that babies sleep in the same room with parents for at least the first six months and up to one year. This may also help keep an eye on how well they’re tolerating the transition.
7. Use A Baby Monitor
If you need to leave your baby alone while they sleep, keep an eye (or ear) out for them using a baby monitor. This will help you understand how well they’re doing with their new crib even while you’re away.
A video monitor is best, since it allows you to see whether your baby is actually awake and moving around; audio-only monitors can be misleading if a baby starts making noises in their sleep.
The recommendation to avoid turning up the monitor’s volume all the way helps prevent you from jumping up for every little noise. Hello, sanity!
8. Start A Nighttime Routine
Babies are creatures of habit. It may seem odd, but babies do have their own sleep patterns!
Try putting your child to bed at certain times during the day when they seem to be the sleepiest. They’ll know it’s time for bed.
It also helps to have cues for bedtime, such as white noise, pajamas, reading a book, bath time, or even diffusing a relaxing essential oil such as lavender.
9. Keep An Eye Out For Anything That Could Disrupt Sleep
Teething, growth spurts, sickness, and stress. These are all things that could potentially be a huge barrier when you’re transitioning from a bassinet to a crib.
If your baby is distressed in some way, the chances are that they’ll be much less likely to adapt to a new routine. It may not be time to transition yet if your baby is going through anything significant.
Try again later, when they’re feeling happier and healthier.
10. Keep On Swaddling IF It Provides Comfort
If your baby is used to being swaddled, continuing that practice will help them feel safer in the new environment. Not only is it helpful to stick to a routine with babies, but swaddling also helps them feel secure and safe in general.
It also prevents them from flailing their limbs, and can also help them sleep. You’ll need all the help you can get when you’re trying to make the big switch, so this might be worth a try.
11. Be Patient, And Stay Strong!
Your baby might not be too happy with the change at first, so be prepared for some fussing and whimpering. It can take from a couple of days to weeks for them to get used to a crib.
Their comfortability with a new environment also depends on a few different factors. This includes how ready your little one is and how willing they are to try something new. Again, you don’t need to check on the baby for every little noise if you’re up and around!
Remember to use your baby monitor if you’re concerned. It’s probably not going to be easy at first, but each day it will get better for both you and your little one.
12. Don’t Forget To Take Care Of Yourself
The switch from a bassinet to the crib can be even harder on the parents than their baby. Whether it’s worrying about your little one, lack of sleep, or just change in general, it can be a lot for both of you to go through.
Whenever you’re not busy being a mom, take some time to take care of yourself. Do something you like to do, relax and watch TV, or take a well-deserved nap if you can. If you’re happy, your baby is more likely to be happy, too.
Make sure to review the weight limit of your bassinet! Remember that as they begin to sit up and meet different milestones, that’s a definite sign it’s time for the crib.
This milestone will be a big step, but it’s one that you and your little one can get through together. Gradually getting your baby used to their new crib is key. Give them time and patience, and they’ll eventually come around. After all, each baby is different.