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How to Get Baby to Sleep in a Crib

Transitioning your baby into a crib is bittersweet. It’s heaven to watch your little one grow, but heartbreaking to realize that they are now too big for their bassinet or co-sleeper.

There also comes a time when you realize that your little one falling asleep in your arms every night is not the best idea, and you will have to break them of it eventually.

Regardless, if you’ve found this article, you’re getting ready to transition your baby into a crib or your little one simply refuses to sleep in their crib. These tips will help you with either of those situations. 

Create A Positive, Safe Sleeping Environment

There are certain things that you can do to create an environment that will help lull your little one to sleep.

While you’re focusing on the environment, you also want to make sure that your baby is in an environment that is safe. These tips will make sure that you have both!

Remember That Pillows And Plushies Pose A Risk

It’s important that the environment your little one is in is safe for them. Pillows and stuffed animals are adorable, but these pose a risk for children. They are a suffocation hazard. Older babies can use them to climb out of their crib as well. 

Not only are these not safe, but they also give your baby something else to play with. You want to avoid putting toys of any kind in your baby’s crib.

This encourages them to stay awake instead of helping them fall asleep. It can teach your baby that their crib is a place to play instead of sleep. 

Avoid Bumper Pads And Thick Blankets Too

Bumper pads and thick blankets have the same effect as pillows and stuffed animals. First, they are a suffocation hazard. Second, bumper pads are a distraction.

There are usually ties or fun prints on bumper pads that can keep your baby up. If your little one gets excited very easily and can scoot, they’ll try to play with the bumper pads, or at least the strings on the bumper pads. 

Pick Up A Projection Light 

If your little one prefers having something to look at while they drift off to sleep, consider picking up a projection light. These shine stars or other images on the ceiling. Some of them play soothing music that will help lull your baby to sleep. 

Mobiles Are A Great Idea

Mobiles are a wonderful idea for younger babies. If your little one is old enough to start pulling themselves up in the crib, these are not a good idea.

Determined children will try to climb to get to the mobile so that they can play with it. However, if your baby is not old enough for mobile to pose a safety risk, these are a great idea!

Some are battery operated or come with a remote so you don’t have to wind them up. 

Avoid Placing Toys In The Crib

Some people might recommend placing toys in the baby’s crib so that they can learn to fall asleep when they feel tired. However, this is not a good idea.

It can confuse your little one, and if your baby fights their sleep, it will take them longer to fall asleep. Instead, they will try to stay up and play. 

Dim Lighting Is Perfect

Babies might have a hard time falling asleep in a room with bright lighting. If you don’t like for the room to be dark, consider picking up a night light.

The projectors mentioned above also make wonderful night lights! These will provide a small amount of light so you can see when you walk into the room, but not enough to keep your little one awake at night. 

The Ideal Temperature For A Baby’s Room Is 68 Degrees

A baby can get hot or cold easily. The younger a baby is, the harder it is for them to regulate their own body temperature. Personally, I was constantly overdressing my first and cranking the thermostat up to make sure she wasn’t cold.

However, she wound up being too hot instead! Make sure that the nursery is the ideal temperature to help your baby fall asleep at night. 

Vibration Pads Are A Great Idea

If your baby got used to falling asleep to vibration, like in a vibrating bouncer or bassinet, picking up a pad to place under their mattress can help them adjust to falling asleep in a crib.

These are pretty cost-effective and will help you get a few hours of sleep. 

Sleep Sacks Are Perfect For Swaddling

Baby’s that get used to being held while they are sleeping might need to be swaddled again to help them sleep in a crib. Newborn babies usually sleep better when they are swaddled because they feel safe and secure.

Sleepsacks provide warmth and come with straps that Velcro in place to help your little one stay swaddled all night long. 

How To Lay Your Baby Down So That They Will Sleep In A Crib

Getting started with promoting sleep via the environment is awesome. If you’ve already done that, and there is no noise keeping your little one awake, it’s time to consider some other things.

These tips will help you help your baby finally get a good night’s sleep so you can both wake up well-rested tomorrow morning. 

Make Sure Your Little One Is Tired

Your baby should be drowsy but awake when you lay them down. If they took a late nap, they might not be tired. Holding them and rocking them is a great idea.

Don’t rock them until they are asleep. Instead, only rock them until they are feeling sleepy. Other great ideas to help your little one relax for a restful night include: 

  • Baby massage
  • Cuddling
  • Singing
  • Pacing and bouncing
  • Some time in a swing
  • Letting them stay awake for a little bit longer

When your baby is relaxed, they will start to get tired. This will help them finally fall asleep.

Young mother breastfeeding her newborn baby boy at home

Feed Them First

When a baby is hungry, they won’t sleep through the night. If your little one wakes up in the middle of the night, consider feeding them before you put them to bed.

This can help eliminate the middle of the night feeding times. Feeding your little one before they go to bed can also help them relax, and does tend to make some little ones tired. Therefore, it makes it easier to fall asleep at night. 

A lot of people still encourage putting cereal or baby food in a bottle to help a little one fall asleep and sleep through the night. However, this is not a good idea.

Babies tend to suck harder on the bottle, and you have to cut the nipple to let something thicker than formula pass through. This presents a choking hazard. Babies also do not have digestive systems that are ready for food at a young age. 

Feeding your baby before bed is an exceptional idea, but make sure that you don’t put them to bed with a bottle. Babies that fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth often get used to this, which turns it into a habit.

When babies fall asleep with bottles and cups it puts them at a greater risk for developing baby bottle tooth decay. 

Suggested Post: How Much Weight Can a Crib Hold?

Establish A Bedtime Routine

Children thrive when they have routines. Establishing a bedtime routine with your little one is an amazing idea. The routine should be relaxing, and it will help your baby fall asleep on their own.

Most people incorporate a bath, baby massage, and bedtime story into their routine. There is not a set bedtime routine that you have to follow through.

For example, my littlest often preferred a song to a bedtime story, so I rocked her and sang her a song every night. At seven, sometimes she still prefers this. Come up with one that works for you and your baby. 

What If Your Baby Still Doesn’t Sleep In A Crib?

Sometimes, you’ve established a bedtime routine. You’ve done everything that should relax them, complete with dim lighting and lullaby music.

Mother by baby crib at night

Then, they still scream bloody murder the second their body touches the mattress. Unfortunately, it does happen. However, you’ll get through it. I promise. 

Let Them Cry For A Minute

As babies get older, they learn a few things. One of them is that they can get what they want when they cry. We don’t like to think of a 9-month-old baby being manipulative, but they can be.

Babies can even learn that if they scream a certain way it gets you to come running back into the room. My grandson thinks that this one is really fun. He laughs when I run back into the room. 

Babies can also learn how to fight their sleep. They’ll struggle to keep their little eyelids open. You’ll see them sit up straight in an effort to stay awake.

They don’t want to miss anything! This is another reason your little one screams when you put him in the crib. He just doesn’t want to go to sleep. 

When there is nothing wrong with your little one, let them cry for a few minutes. Go check on them every ten minutes to make sure they are okay, and pick up a video baby monitor so that you can see them.

This offers a little bit of reassurance that they are fine when you aren’t in the room with them. Continue this until they fall asleep. 

Remember That It Takes Time To Adjust To New Things

It takes time to adjust to anything new, whether it’s sleeping in a crib or a new bedtime routine. Continue to encourage your baby to sleep in their crib, and don’t go back to holding them while they sleep.

Over time, you’ll find that your baby falls asleep a little bit easier every night. It just takes time and consistency. 

My grandson and my daughter no longer live with us. For the beginning of his life, he slept in a co-sleeper. Then, he transitioned into a crib with no problem. Now, he has a pack n play to sleep in at my house.

Baby Toddler Girl Crying Tantrum in Bedroom Crib

In the beginning, he refused to sleep in his playpen. It was reserved for sleeping only, so he did not play in it. He had his favorite blanket. We even did a naptime routine.

He screamed as soon as I put him in it. Now, two months later, he peacefully goes to sleep in his playpen at naptime daily. It might take your baby a little longer to adjust than others, but that’s okay. They’ll get there!

Make Adjustments As Needed

If you find that something isn’t working for you and your baby, change it. Yes, most babies love being swaddled when they are newborns. However, there is the occasional newborn that will scream if you swaddle them.

The same thing applies to bedtime routines. If your baby gets excited at storytime, save reading for during the day.

Every single parent and their baby are unique, and so is what will work for your little one. As more time goes on, you’ll find the perfect things that help your baby. It just takes time. 

In Conclusion

There are quite a few things that you can do to help your baby sleep in a crib. Create a positive sleeping environment, and make sure that it’s safe for your baby.

Establish a bedtime routine to help them fall asleep faster. Then, give it some time. You’ll find that you’re looking back on those sleepless nights and just shaking your head in a few weeks.