Parenthood can easily be characterized by a series of many transitions that both we and our children make on an ongoing basis. Many of these transitions occur in relation to your child’s sleep, the first of which is often transitioning from a bassinet to a crib. While some babies have always slept in their cribs since they came home from the hospital, many babies sleep in a bassinet when they share the room with their parents. The SIDS recommendation for where a child should sleep states that babies should share a room with their parents for at least the first 6 months of their life. Some families choose to do this and some do not. Every family does what they are comfortable with. Babies often stay in their bassinet until they either outgrow the weight limit (most have a maximum of 15 pounds) or they are too long for it. Sometimes, however, babies start to become very mobile and are ready to be able to move around more in their sleep. I remember when my daughter turned herself 180 degrees in the middle of the night in her tiny bassinet. I still don’t know how she did it, but that was when we decided she was too big and too mobile for it.
Making this transition can be daunting for some parents. I often find there is a bit of sadness that accompanies this change as it is one of the first moments when parents begin to realize how quickly their babies are growing and changing.
Here are some tips to help make this transition a bit easier for everyone.
- Depending on your baby’s age, you may still be swaddling her when you make the move. If you are, continue to swaddle until your child doesn’t need it anymore. This can help your baby to continue to feel the comforting confinement they had in the bassinet even though there is now more space in the crib.
- If your bassinet has a separate base and “basket,” you take the basket off and spend a few nights with it placed in the actual crib. Although your baby won’t actually be sleeping in the crib, they will at least be in their crib environment.
- So that your baby doesn’t have quite so much space all around, put your baby in the crib the short way.
- Spend a few days prior to the move giving your baby some time to “play” in her crib with you nearby and interacting with her. This is not at a time when you are wanting your child to be sleeping. This is just playtime. This will help your baby become acclimated to the crib and start to think of it as a familiar place. Even if your baby starts to fuss, try not show distress yourself and pull her out of the crib immediately otherwise it can send the message that the crib is not a good place to be. Even small babies can pick up on their parents’ anxiety.
Congratulations on the first of many transitions! Don’t worry, before you know it, you’ll be helping your baby make her twin bed at college.