UPDATED JANUARY 3, 2020
When I first brought my little bundle of joy home, I had a crib all set up, but I wasn’t even thinking about how to get my baby to sleeping in the crib.
I loved co-sleeping so so much! Partly because it made night time feedings a lot easier and partly because I’m a control freak and had to check on him several times throughout the night to make sure he was breathing.
I had my baby sleep in the bassinet within arms reach of me and it was perfect. If you’re wondering how to get baby to sleep in the bassinet or crib, you’re in the right place. If you’re wondering how to get baby to sleep through the night? These tips will help you to teach your baby to be a better independent sleeper and sleep through the night as well.
When my baby outgrew the bassinet, it was time to transition baby to sleep in the crib. This can be a nightmare as you’re little one has become accustomed to their routine. Through trial, error, tears and the support and advice of other mamas we were able to get our baby to sleep in the crib through the night.
If you’re wondering, how do you get baby to sleep through the night? Or how do you get baby to sleep in the crib? These tips will help your baby to sleep through the night in their crib, hopefully without crying too much.
To really understand, we also need to ask ourselves why won’t my newborn or older baby sleep in the crib through the night?
If we understand what makes them sleep better we can help make the crib more baby friendly.
You may also be wondering, “how do I put my baby to sleep without being held? Or “how do I teach my baby to fall asleep on their own?” You can use a lot of these tricks for those issues too.
If you’re a new mom looking for more baby hacks, check out the newborn survival guide for tips and tricks every new parent should know.
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When Should a Baby Sleep in their Crib And In Their Own Room?
Timing Transition From Bassinet to Crib
This one is really up to you and baby. Whenever you feel most ready. Keep in mind though, the earlier you decide to start, the easier it will be.
When you start building a routine with baby, they come to expect that routine to stay in place. It gives them a sense of calm when they know what to expect. As they get older it can be harder to change routines.
Not impossible, but harder. I would suggest somewhere between 6-8 months but do what feels right for you.
1. Start By Putting Baby in Crib for Naps
Why won’t my newborn sleep in the crib?
Because you haven’t taught them how yet.
I love the idea of easing into the change. Start with something small. Begin with naps in the crib instead of going straight for trying to teach baby to sleep through the night.
We actually started this well before we were thinking about transitioning baby to the crib overnight.
At around 3 months I started to place him in his crib for daytime naps so he could begin to get used to the crib.
RELATED POST: How New and Expecting Moms Can Score FREE BABY PRODUCTS!
2. Put Baby in Crib Sleepy, Not Asleep
Teach Baby To Sleep Independently
Are you wondering how to get your newborn to nap in the crib instead of your arms? When you’re teaching your baby to sleep in the crib, you want to teach good sleep habits.
You don’t want to have to rock your little one to sleep FOREVER. That’s exactly what will happen if you are constantly putting them in the crib AFTER they’ve fallen asleep.
They will need you to rock them back to sleep every time they startle themselves awake.
You need to teach baby how to self-sooth and fall asleep on their own because this is the key to having baby sleep through the night.
As soon as you see your little one’s eyes start drooping, it’s time to lay them down. You can stay by the crib for the first few times, gently patting and shushing them if they need help settling down.
Help them stop fussing and let them fall asleep on their own.
You’ll gradually cut down on the amount of time you stand there waiting for them to fall asleep until they don’t need you to do that anymore.
Look Out for Sleep Cues & Signs
You know what’s a surefire way to fail at baby sleep training?
Missing baby’s sleep cues.
When your little one gets over-tired, they become super fussy, and even though they’re sleepy, they are too cranky to go to bed.
You’ll spend your time trying to calm them instead of getting them to sleep. Look out for these sleep cues so you know when it’s getting to be time for bed:
Disengagement/ avoiding eye contact/ staring off into space
♡ Pulling ears
♡ Rubbing eyes
♡ Repeatedly stretching
♡ Crying/ fussiness (they are over-tired by this point)
3. Why Swaddling Baby Will Help Them Sleep in Their Crib
What should a newborn wear to sleep?
Your newborn or baby will sleep in their crib better and for longer if they are swaddled.
It keeps them nice and snug as a bug which mimics the environment they were accustomed to in the womb.
All that wide open space can be scary for a newborn. Plus they can easily startle themselves awake. Swaddling can help with these things that baby hates.
You should make sure the swaddle is nice and secure, it shouldn’t unravel while they are sleeping as it can pose a hazard if they end up with it covering their face.
Check out the newborn survival guide linked above for how to swaddle.
Or, go the even easier route: use a newborn sleep sack.
There are even some weighted sleep sacks available.
Some babies like a light pressure on their stomach when they sleep. It gives them the feeling of being snuggled up against you or sleeping on their tummy.
4. It Smells Like Mama *sigh*
Do you have a cuddly clingy little koala?
My little guy was and still is a cuddly little sleeper. He loves to know we’re right there with him so he would just scream if we walked away.
As I mentioned earlier, you can put baby in the crib and stay near for the first few days. You can hum or sing and gently pat them and reassure them to sleep.
Another thing that helps baby feel secure is mama’s scent.
Newborns don’t have great eyesight yet but they know EXACTLY how you smell.
Your scent is familiar, reassuring and calming. I suggest sleeping with their swaddle blanket or sleep sack before using them on baby so it has your scent.
5. Bedtime Routine Makes Crib Sleeping Easier
You’ll more likely be able to get your baby to sleep in their crib if they know what to expect. Babies, just like us, thrive on routines.
You can start a bedtime routine from day 1 and expand on it as your little one gets older. It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated. Our bedtime routine looks something like this:
♡ Bath time
♡ Baby massage
♡ Pajamas/ Sleepers on
♡ Bottle or breastfeed baby
♡ Story time in dimmed lighting
♡ A little cuddling and off to sleep in the crib
Check out our favourite baby books to read before bed
You’ll notice that your little one starts developing a sleep schedule of their own. Pay attention to these times and try to get your little one ready to sleep as that time nears.
Personally, I used a baby sleep app to keep track of the times my little guy normally took his naps and when he went to bed and tried to keep these as consistent as possible.
6. Consistency Is Key For Sleeping in Crib
Like most things in life, you gotta stick with it if you want it to work. The first few days are often the worst and all you want to do is cry. Just keep on pushing through. Stick to your bedtime routine and commit to the crib.
If you work regular hours/ full time, I suggest starting on a Friday night so you won’t be exhausted for work the next day and are thus more likely to stay committed.
AS you know, babies cry and that’s okay but I’m not really one for the cry-it-out method. If that works for you, great! You have to decide what’s best for your family and what you’re comfortable with.
In case you’re like me and you can’t stand the crying, you can simply go in, pat your little one and shush them until they settle down. Keep in mind,you may have to do this REPEATEDLY for the first few days but if you stick to it, it WILL work. Your little one will understand their bedtime routine and eventually give in. It’s a battle of the wills at this point so stay strong.
7. How to Help Baby Safely Sleep in Crib
I just wanted to mention a few safety tips to keep in mind when you transition baby to sleep in the crib. You have probably come across these before but they warrant an explanation.
You should always put your little one to sleep on their backs.
Any other sleep position such as on their side or on their stomach is not recommended because it increases the chance of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS.
It’s linked to re-breathing exhaled air so when they sleep on their side or stomach they aren’t able to turn their heads away as easily.
Stuffed animals, pillows and frills and fluff are cute and sweet but unnecessary for a baby and can actually pose a breathing hazard.
Your newborn doesn’t need anything in the crib that they could accidentally pull onto their face such as loose blankets, pillows or toys.
Also, make sure all crib sheets are snugly and securely tucked away.
Most cribs have more than one position. When your little one is a newborn and not so mobile, it’s usually set to the highest position so you can easily put them in their crib.
However, if you’re starting sleep training with a +6 month old who’s getting more and more curious and mobile every day you may want to move the crib to the lowest position.
This way your little monkey won’t be climbing out of their crib and getting into mischief or accidentally falling out and hurting themselves.
Some More Strange Baby Sleep Hacks You Probably Haven’t Heard Of
Here are a few more sleep hacks I’ve come across that aren’t really your typical sleep solutions, but if you’re at your wits end, it doesn’t hurt to try a few more things, right?
The Tissue Trick for Baby Sleep?
So I watched the video below, and although I don’t use a tissue, what worked for me was slowly running my fingers (ever so lightly) from the top of my baby’s head, down his face and over his little nose. I would do this when he’s already in the crib, tired but maybe a bit fussy or reluctant to sleep.
I would either make a shushing sound or hum while slowly running my fingers over his head and face, then within minutes I can see his eyes begin to flutter and I know I’ve won! Score!
The DIY Baby Hammock Or Baby Swing
The other strange sleep hack is one that I learned from my parents. This was basically how they got babies to fall asleep where they come from in Sri Lanka. As we know, movement helps babies fall asleep because they became accustomed to that in the womb. So this trick tries to mimic that sensation.
They basically hung a saree (6 feet of long fabric) from the ceiling and made a baby hammock that would rock baby to sleep. Today, many parents use baby swings to do the same thing. Sorry! I couldn’t find an English video to show you what I mean (this is very much a brown parent thing).
Obviously, you don’t want to leave a sleeping child in the hammock, it’s only used to get them calm and sleepy before moving them to their bassinet or crib.
If you aren’t trying to build your own baby hammock, I’ve got an easier solution. Try a baby swing instead. Most babies are easily lulled to sleep by the movement of a baby swing. But remember, take baby out when they’re sleepy instead of asleep.
Bassinet IN Crib
This hack was shared to me by another reader! She has a bassinet that is detachable from the stand. She was able to simple detach the bassinet and move the bassinet right into the crib with baby in it. This way, baby had something familiar to hold on to during the transition. After a few days or weeks, once baby feels fairly comfortable sleeping in the crib, just get rid of the bassinet.
8. Products That Help Baby Sleep in the Crib
Sleep Sacks, Swaddle Blankets and Weighted Sleepers
We mentioned swaddling as a way to help get your little one to sleep better. Here are some great examples that helped my little guy. We received a Halo Sleep Sack from our baby shower and it was a god-send. Initially, I was using swaddle blankets but my little guy eventually figured out how to wriggle free. If you want to take a closer look, click on the name of the product to shop.
I loved the blankets the hospitals used, they were the perfect size for swaddling. So, when I got home, I decided to scour the internet and see what I could find. I actually came across the same brand that the hospitals use- Medline!
Medline Hospital Swaddle Blankets
I haven’t tried this sleep suit personally but I know many moms who swear by it. This one is a weighted sleep suit, so if you have a baby that loves to fall asleep on your chest, they will likely love this.
You’ll want to grab a baby monitor so you can keep a watchful eye on your sleeping babe from the comfort of your own room. Luckily we got one from our baby shower. Some come with a live video feed, others are sound only. Some have remote access from your phone using wifi. Others have two-way talk so you can sooth baby with the sound of your voice from your room. See what meets your needs.
Video Baby Monitor With 2 Way Talk & Temperature Alert
White Noise Sound Machine
The womb was not an isolated, quiet place. Your sweet little babe was lulled to sleep by the sound of your beating heart and the rush of blood in your veins. White noise sounds are comforting to babies.
Some babies still need this type of environment to be able to fall asleep on their own and make sleeping in a crib more enjoyable. You can get a white noise machine or download a white noise app to play in your baby’s room.
Keep in mind, you want a safe white noise decibel for baby. I’ve read a lot about the possibility of hearing loss if the white noise decibel is too high.
Noise level above 140 dB is considered very high for adults. For children this level should be less than 80 dB and less than 50 dB for babies (this is about the level of hospital nurseries).
Baby Sleep White Noise Machine + Night Light
More Baby Sleep Blog Posts
If you’re looking for more baby, toddler or child sleep resources check out these blogging mama’s who I often turn to for help!
- Her Journal Blog 5 Tips For Transitioning Baby to their Own Room
- A Flourishing Rose 5 Sleep Essentials for Toddlers
- Buckeye Teacher Mama Our Miracle Sleep Solution- Simplifying Bedtime
I sincerely hope you found these tips helpful. Good luck in your sleep training journey. I wish you more blissful nights of rest. If you’re having trouble, keep at it and be consistent.What if all else fails? Why not try a sleep consultant? If you have some tips I’ve missed I’d love to hear more. Leave me a comment 🙂
Friday 19th of November 2021
I just play one these videos and he just falls right to sleep. The fish one works really well..
Sunday 21st of March 2021
Sleepy, not asleep was the best tip for us in our sleep training journey! Although in my book ( https://www.parental-love.com/shop/baby-sleep-training ) it was called 'drowsy but awake'. Omg it's do hard to tell at the beginning, but at some point you just now. And that's the start of the new chapter!
Friday 31st of December 2021
@Caroline, drowsy, exactly! I also used Susan's HWL sleep training and I remember learning this for a while. But when you do - it's all so simple, right?
Wednesday 2nd of September 2020
My daughter never slept through night till two years of age. Wish I knew these tips then. She did not like the crib at all
Wednesday 22nd of April 2020
You can ease your stress and better prepare to set your baby's sleep schedule by understanding which parts of her sleep routine are in your hands -- and which are not.
Thursday 12th of March 2020
If your baby cries, wait a few minutes before you check on her. The amount of time you wait depends on you and your baby. You might start waiting somewhere between 1 and 5 minutes. When you re-enter your babyвЂ™s room, try to console her. But do not pick her up and do not stay for more than 2 or 3 minutes, even if she's still crying when you leave. Seeing your face will be enough to assure your baby that you are close by so she can eventually fall asleep on her own.