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At What Age Should A Baby Sleep In Crib?

Many parents decide to move their toddlers to a bed before their third birthday, however, because they need to make space for another child or feel their child has outgrown their cot.

The study, published in the Sleep Medicine journal, collected data from 1,983 parents over five countries and showed that sleeping in a cot was associated with better sleeping patterns among babies and toddlers.

The data collected showed as babies got older, parents were more inclined to move their toddler from a crib to a bed. A total of 63 per cent of the babies studied slept in a crib from 18 to 24 months, 34 per cent were still sleeping in cribs at 24 to 30 months, and only 13 per cent of 30 to 36 month-olds were still sleeping in cribs.

The research found that sleeping in a crib was associated with children resisting bedtime, going to bed earlier, falling asleep faster and sleeping for longer.

A pediatric psychologist from Denver, Colorado, says children prefer small spaces and feel safer and more comfortable.

‘Adults tend to see cribs as cages, but that’s not how children see them, she said. ‘If you watch young children play, they like to play under the table or in large boxes.

As your children grow older, they become more inquisitive, so if you’re worried about your little one getting big enough to climb over the bars of their crib, shop around for a cot with an adjustable mattress.

The crib will allow you to move the mattress lower to the ground as your baby gets older, which will prevent them from climbing over and giving you that much-needed peace of mind.

Baby Nursery FAQs

In general, most toddlers move from a crib to a bed between 18 months and three years old. This wide age range means a few factors to consider before making the change.

If you want to move her to her room, rest assured, two months is not too young to sleep on her own in the crib. However, it is too young to expect her to sleep through the night.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the best place for a baby to sleep is in his parents' bedroom. He should sleep in his crib or bassinet (or in a co-sleeper safely attached to the bed) but shouldn't be in his room until he is at least six months, better 12 months.

While most kids can easily make the transition between 18 months and 3 1/2 years, it depends on your child. If at all possible, try to wait until your child is closer to 3 years old to give them a chance to develop the maturity it takes to stay in a big bed at night.

Tips for Getting Your Baby to Sleep in a Crib

at what age should a baby sleep in crib

Sleep plays an essential role in your baby’s happy and healthy development, and experts say a crib is the safest place for your baby to sleep. 

Find out how to get your baby to associate her crib with sleep, how long a crib can be used by a baby, and what you can do to ensure your baby’s crib is safe for sleep.

Crib Safety Tips and Advice

The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib. A bassinet or a portable crib can also work.

Place a firm mattress in the crib, and cover it with a tight-fitting bottom sheet. The mattress should fit the crib snugly, with no gaps between the side of the mattress and the rails.

To keep your baby safe, make sure the crib stays bare. Don’t have any loose bedding, blankets, bumper pads, pillows, or toys in the crib, as these items can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or lead to suffocation.

It’s safest to keep the crib in your room until your baby is at least six months old. Room sharing can reduce the risk of SIDS by 50 per cent, and it can also make it easier for you to check on your little one and tend to her during the night.

It’s very important that in your baby’s first year, your little one always be put to sleep on her back in the crib. This back-sleeping position helps reduce the risk of SIDS.

Your baby may roll over onto her stomach or side during the night. If you notice this, gently roll her onto her back.

Once your little one can roll over both ways —that is, from back to front and vice versa—experts say you no longer have to worry about repositioning her onto her back if she rolls over during the night.

How to Get Your Baby to Sleep in a Crib

Experts recommend placing your baby in his crib when he’s drowsy but not yet asleep. This helps your baby learn to associate the crib with the place where he falls asleep. If you’re struggling to get your baby to sleep, try some of these tips:

  • Check whether your little one needs feeding or a diaper change or whether he may be feeling sick.
  • Check that the room temperature is cool but comfortable for your baby to sleep in and that your little one isn’t over-or underdressed. Try playing white noise or soothing sounds using a baby sound machine or creating white noise by playing a fan pointed toward a wall. Every baby is unique, but your baby might prefer having a nightlight on as he falls asleep. A nightlight can also provide enough illumination for middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes, so you avoid having to turn the main bedroom lights on.
  • Placing a mobile above your baby’s crib can give your little one something to look at, and before you know it, your baby may have lulled himself to sleep.

As always, be sure to reach out to your child’s healthcare provider if you have additional questions or concerns.

Creating a Bedtime Routine

Setting up and following a consistent bedtime routine can eventually make getting your baby to sleep in her crib that much easier. Over time your baby will get used to the winding down period and will start to anticipate sleep.

A bedtime routine can include:

  • A warm bath
  • A relaxing massage
  • Singing or reading to your baby
  • Dimming of the lights.

An important part of a successful routine is maintaining a consistent bedtime. This will help your baby get into a sleep schedule over time.

Your baby's schedule may be disrupted occasionally if something crops up, like an outing or overnight travel. In these instances, do your best to stay close to your baby’s usual bedtime, and resume the normal routine as soon as possible.

What About When Your Baby Wakes in the Night?

Your baby may wake during the night for feedings and diaper changes, sometimes just as part of his normal sleep pattern. Some babies can settle themselves back to sleep once their needs have been met, while others may still be learning how to self-soothe. 

When you tend to your baby, keep the lights dim, and use a soft voice and calming movements while you care for his needs. Afterwards, place him back in his crib for sleep and reassure him that everything is OK and it’s time for sleep.

If your baby doesn’t need feeding or a diaper change but is still a little fussy, you may not even need to pick him up. Gently stroking his cheek or head for a few moments and letting him know that it’s time for sleep may be enough to help him fall back asleep.

How To Transition Baby To Crib

As a new parent, you have probably had the lovely daydream of looking down at your tiny bundle of joy in cute pyjamas sleeping peacefully in a crib with a smile tugging on your baby’s lips. 

You might even have gone as far as getting the cutest crib in anticipation. But the sad truth is getting your baby to sleep in the crib might be harder than you have ever imagined.

You start with your baby sleeping in the bassinet for the first few months due to the need for constant care and feeding schedules. It just seemed more practical to keep the baby as close to your bedside as possible in the event of a potential food emergency. 

But the time will come to transition your baby to a crib either on doctor’s orders or because your baby has outgrown the bassinet. This could signal a big change in your baby’s sleep routine.

If you wonder what the process would be like to transition your baby to the crib, here are a few factors to consider.

When To Transition

How do you know when your baby is ready to transition to the crib?

You need to determine if the time is right for the transition. Baby’s growing at an incredible exponential rate during the first few months with growth spurts. If your baby has grown out of the bassinet, it might just be time to transition your baby to a crib. You don’t want your baby bumping into the sides of the bassinet and waking up crying.

Most babies transition into the crib between 3 months to 6 months. If your baby is still sleeping peacefully in the bassinet, it might not be time to rush into transitioning the baby to a crib. But the longer you can determine the resistance encountered with your baby. 

A younger baby would be easier to transition to a crib than an older baby that has gotten comfortable in that bassinet. Also, try not to transition before making a major change in the baby’s environment, such as a vacation or moving into a new house.

Transitioning Your Baby: Key Things You Need

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The hardest part about transitioning your baby to a crib has to be actually ‘transitioning the baby’. It might seem a little confusing at first, and you might have numerous questions revolving around the process. How do I put my baby to sleep in the crib? What can I do to make my baby more comfortable?

To start the process, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following to help transition your baby to the crib:

  • A full-size crib to accommodate growth spurts along the months. This allows the crib to be versatile and spacious.
  • A firm mattress to help the baby sleep better and prevent aches. Your baby might not have the strength to push away from a soft mattress cutting off the air supply. The firm mattress would prevent the baby from moving into a dangerous position during the night.
  • A clear sleeping space with no pillows or blankets getting in the way of your baby’s sleep. This is also to ensure your baby stays safe regardless of the tossing and turning.
  • Put your baby down on their back to sleep. This is the safest sleep position. This decreases the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and your baby gets to sleep comfortably.
  • The optimal sleeping environment is between 68 to 72 degrees F. for your baby. Getting your baby to sleep at the right temperature with no doubt increases the quality of your baby’s sleep.

How To Transition Your Baby

Once you have gotten all the necessary elements for the transition process, the big question is, what is the best way to make the transition with as little resistance as possible from your baby?

Get The Crib Ready

A great way to get your baby to start sleeping in the crib is to ensure the crib feels extra comfortable. Make sure the crib sheet is not too cool when placing the baby in the crib, as this could wake the baby up. An asleep sack is a great way to transition your baby from swaddling and ensure your baby feels warm in the crib.

If your baby loves to be near you before falling asleep, your baby will likely crave your smell when asleep. Try sleeping on the crib sheets before transitioning so that the sheets smell like you and you can create the illusion of being near.

Transition Gradually

Your baby needs to feel safe in the crib, and this feeling cannot be developed overnight. Your baby has to feel comfortable in the crib space before transitioning fully. You can move the crib into your room first and get your baby to sleep in it before moving the crib back to your baby’s room.

You can also try getting your baby to take naps in the crib during the day before trying out transitioning at bedtime. Another helpful tip would be to stay in the room for some time during the initial stage of transitioning until your baby falls asleep and slowly shorten the time until your baby doesn’t need you there to fall asleep anymore.

Develop A Routine

Babies usually have a predictable sleep cycle and thrive better when they have a sleep routine. Being consistent is great for your baby. They find comfort in predictability and knowing what comes next during the first year. Observe your baby’s sleep pattern and create a routine around it. Find out what works best for your baby and ensure you stick to this sleep routine to make the transitioning process as easy as possible, especially for younger babies.

Brace Yourself And Be Strong

Get ready for the initial whimper when you drop your baby to sleep alone in the crib. The transition process can be difficult even when necessary. The baby might take a little while to get familiar with the new sleeping environment. 

Observe objectively and try not to go into the room every time you hear the baby make a sound. You can always check on the baby with the baby monitor to ensure everything is okay and the baby is just fussy.

The goal is to get your baby to learn to fall asleep alone without any help. Babies can only fuss for so long, except for a medical reason.

Baby Monitors And Sound Machines

The Nanit baby monitor helps you keep tabs on your baby in the transition process. You can track the baby’s sleep pattern and changes in temperature and humidity. It tracks your baby’s progress and improvements in falling asleep alone to encourage parents.

Using white noise from a sound machine to transition your baby might be great in preventing your baby from waking up at every sound in the house. 

If your baby is already used to a particular white noise, try using this sound to get them to sleep better in the crib and ease the transition. The white noise would help drown out any distracting noise and ensure the baby gets a good night’s rest.

Length Of Transition Process

An important question in the process is how long should it take in transitioning a baby to a crib? How long is too long? How short can the time be?

There is no fixed time for the transition process, and it could range from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how gradual the process is. It could also depend on the baby’s readiness or resistance to nighttime sleep in the crib.

Parenting comes with many ups and downs, no matter how prepared you might be for that situation. Transitioning your baby to the crib might seem like a nightmare initially with all the cries and fuss, but every day will get better. It is all about time and the approach method so remember to cherish each moment and create lasting memories for you and your baby.

The Bottom Line

Getting your baby to sleep in his crib may take some time, but eventually, your baby will get used to it. 

Placing your baby’s crib in your room and perhaps even swaddling him may help your little one feel more comfortable. Providing a soothing bedtime routine and ensuring he has a comfortable sleep environment can also be helpful.

Above all, safe sleep should be top of mind. This means always placing your baby to sleep on his back in the crib and keeping the crib free of items like pillows and blankets.

Soon enough, your baby will form a positive sleep association with his crib, and it will become second nature for him to nod off at bedtime or naptime. He’ll eventually look forward to his bedtime routine, and he’ll be having sweet dreams in his crib.

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