Does your baby wake up as soon as you put them in their crib? Do they only seem to sleep deeply in their carrier or while you’re wearing them? Transitioning your newborn into their crib for naps and nighttime sleep can be a frustrating experience! But, it’s important to not give up.
Why Should A Baby Sleep In A Crib?
The sooner your baby is able to sleep in their own space (crib, bassinet) the sooner they’ll learn to sleep independently.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that newborns do not co-sleep with their parents. “Studies have not demonstrated any bed-sharing situations that protect against SIDS or infantile suffocation. As a result, the AAP does not recommend any specific bed-sharing situation as safe…”
Why Does Baby Wake Up When They’re Moved To Their Crib?
There are two common reasons why your baby wakes up when you transition them into their crib. The first one is obvious: It’s the change of environment that startles them. They go from their snuggly car seat or being rocked in your arms to a cool mattress. The second reason could be that your baby hasn’t yet developed self-soothing skills, so they’re reliant on something comforting for sleep, such as a rocking motion, the breast, or bottle.
Luckily, there are ways to encourage your baby to sleep in their crib.
- Make Sure They’re In A Deep Sleep Before You Put Them Down
Young babies (12 weeks and younger) aren’t able to “put themselves to sleep”. To prevent them waking up as soon as you put them in their crib, make sure they’re in a deep sleep.
Signs of a deep sleep include: Mouth open, head almost falling back, and noises not waking them.
- Try A Swaddle
Swaddles mimic the womb environment, so being wrapped up in one is comforting for a newborn. “It cocoons baby while giving hips and arms freedom to move inside the swaddle. When the baby is in the swaddle, the startle reflex is subdued,” birth and postpartum doula, Liza Maltz, explained to Romper.
For more swaddle tips and how to use a swaddle, click here.
- Create And Stick To A Nighttime Routine
Babies thrive on a consistent bedtime routine. Repeating certain activities every night is a cue to your baby that it’s time to relax and head off to dreamland. Some activities to consider include a bath, baby massage, and cluster feeding. And no, the newborn stage isn’t too early to introduce a routine. For tips on developing a newborn bedtime routine, click here.
- Start With One Nap At A Time
If your baby is used to sleeping in a bassinet and you want to transition them into a crib, don’t go full cold turkey. Start with one nap in their crib, and move on from there. Also, it’s best to change their sleeping arrangements one step at a time. So, if they’re used to sleeping in your room, don’t move them into their nursery just yet. Move the crib into your room so that the changes aren’t happening all at once. Alternatively, you could sleep in their room for a couple of nights to make the switch easier on your baby.
- Drop A Nap (Sort Of)
This is not about skipping a nap – newborns need their daytime sleep! But, if your little one is struggling with bedtime, you can drop their last evening nap and instead put them to bed around 30 minutes earlier.
- When It’s Dark, Stop The Stimulation
Stop with stimulating activities and remove them from loud environments when nighttime hits. Playtime, noises, and bright lights can overstimulate baby and make putting them to bed a lot more challenging.
Mama, you’re not alone. Sleep is something that so many new moms struggle with when they bring their newborns home. The fussiness, crying, and not being able to figure out exactly what’s going on can seriously steal your joy.
If this is hitting close to home, or you’re expecting your new bundle soon, I’ve got a free guide for you. In this guide you’ll learn my three tried and tested tips to help your newborn sleep longer at night. Grab this free guide now!