Thursday, January 10, 2013

How to transition into a crib

TC brought up a very good question after my last post: "How do we manage Allie to sleep separately in her room?" I know a few couples who struggle to move their kids out into their own bedrooms, so I am sure this topic is very popular. I am calling it "a topic", not "a problem", as I also know some people who don't mind it at all, and even enjoy having their kids sleep with them, until the child decides to get some independence on her/his own.

I guess we got pretty lucky. We actually moved Allie into her own crib in her room when she was about a month old. I am so happy that we did it then, because at that point she wasn't realizing much about what was happening and probably didn't really find much difference between sleeping right next to our bed or sleeping in a whole separate room, since we were there with her the moment she started crying, either way. That being said, of course she still spent A LOT of time in our bed. I remember those early morning feedings when I  would bring her to our bed for "a nursing session"  and just didn't have any energy to get up and take her back. But still she was starting to get used to her new room pretty early and knew that it was the place where she falls asleep.

You may say "Well, that was not helpful at all, because my child is way passed the age of 1 month and that approach won't work". So I'll try to address the question how to make this move with an older baby.

I think the most important thing in making the big transition is to create a new routine around going to bed (the bed that you want your child to go to).Every book will tell you that a routine is so extremely important for kids, so this transition needs to happen very smoothly and probably slowly, no need to rush it.

1. Have as much as possible of the bedtime routine in her room. Change her into her PJs there, give her some milk there, read books, tell stories, rock her in a chair. Being in Allie's room in the evening before she goes to bed is always one of the highlights of my day. Sometimes I'll put her down, sometimes MJ will, but my favorite is when we do it together. One of us will sit in a rocking chair and the other will lie on a bean bag with Allie while reading books to her. It's always so cozy!

2. Reading is a really big deal. Don't rush and enjoy your reading time with your little one, create these great bonding memories associated with her room. We typically read for at least 30 minutes before bed. 

3. I think I am making the right assumption about a lot of kids being very attached to their blankys. Pretty often I see kids at a store carrying around their blankys with them. While reading your child a book or rocking her in a chair, use it not only to keep her warm, but also leave your smell on it, so make sure it touches you too. Also, if it takes more than 1 blanky to make her feel cozy in the crib, I let Allie have as many as she wants, which is usually 4 (a soft blanky, a blue blanky, "that" blanky and "Christmas" blanky). Of course, you should't even use ANY blankets if the child is too young and there is a risk of suffocating. The typical guideline is to wait until at least 12 months to leave a blanky in a crib.

4. Let her bring a favorite toy to bed with her. Maybe even put the toy to bed first, tuck her in and then have your child join the toy. She won't feel as lonely then.

5. Add more "rituals" to her routine during the bedtime in her room. For example, Allie always says "Night-night" and kisses the little hedgehock pained right over her crib.

6. Be prepared to stay in the room with her for a while after the lights are off. I even have to do it now from time to time, when Allie has a hard time going to sleep. I'll sing to her, I'll listen to her sing to me, I'll tickle her hands as she always asks me to do, I'll listen to what she has to say. I have to say though, that sometimes it's so hard to keep a straight face after the things she says and if I start laughing, that puts her out of the sleeping mode... 

7. We also have this really cool ladybug nightlight that projects the light on the ceiling and makes it looks like the ceilings is covered by the stars. Try it, it may keep her distracted from sleeping away from you. It's called a Twilight Ladybug.

8. Some doctors  actually suggest to make an adjustment to the crib in your room, and once she's used to sleep in a crib, you can move the crib into he bedroom.

9. And finally a piece of advice that's really hard to follow is to be persistent about the transition. When she wakes up at night, comfort her in her crib by rubbing her back or even take her out if you need to, but stay in her room. We went through that and so many times all you want to do is just take her with you to her bed and many times that's what we did, but the clearer you are on the subject, the quicker she'll get used to her new bed.

***Do not put her to her bed with a milk bottle, that is bad for her dental health.

I hope you'll find this helpful, and if anyone has any other suggestions, please share them i the comments section.

Thank you!


  1. Thank you for such an informative post! Allie has a very cozy room & bed. TC

  2. Love Allie's bedtime routine especially her kissing the hedgehog over her crib. A routine is so important and I know that when my kids were little it was such a nice way to end the day for them and mom & dad.