Crib Transition Guide: When and How to Move Your Baby from Bassinet to Crib

picture of a mom leaning over a bassinet with her baby boy looking up at her
Christine Brown

Christine Brown

If transitioning your baby from a bassinet to their crib is freaking you out a little bit, our crib transition guide will help! This is a significant milestone in your baby’s development and your parenting journey. With the right insight and approach, you can make this transition smooth and stress-free for both you and your little one. So let’s dive in…


How To Know It’s Time To Transition Your Baby From The Bassinet To The Crib

A Step-by-Step Guide on How To Transition Your Baby to a Crib

Common Questions About the Bassinet to Crib Transition

The Benefits of Moving to a Crib

Tips for a Smooth Transition

How To Know It’s Time To Transition Your Baby From The Bassinet To The Crib

Before diving into the process, it’s important to recognize the key developmental milestones that indicate your baby is ready for this transition. Here are a few signs that your baby might be ready to move to a crib:

  1. Rolling Over: once your baby starts rolling over, it’s time to start the transition. Bassinets are not designed for babies who can move around a lot.
  2. Sitting Up: Babies who can sit up on their own need more space to move and explore safely. The bassinet walls are low and this can be a safety hazard if your baby is sitting up.
  3. Pushing Up on Hands and Knees: This is another sign that your baby needs more room to practice their new skills.
  4. Outgrowing the Bassinet: Most bassinets have height and weight limits. If your baby is getting close to these limits, the crib will be a safer choice.
  5. Getting Onto Hands and Feet in a Crawling Position: Babies at this stage are becoming more mobile and need a larger, safer sleep environment.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How To Transition Your Baby to a Crib

This doesn’t have to be a rip the band-aid off process that ends up with you making an abrupt change. Transitioning to a crib can be a gradual process. Here’s a detailed guide to help you through each step:

1. Make the Transition Gradual

Start by letting your baby nap in the crib once or twice a day. Normally the first two naps of the day are easiest. This helps your little one get used to the new sleeping environment without overwhelming them.

Once your little one has made this adjustment, now you can introduce the crib at night and for the remainder of naps.

2. Simulate the Bassinet Environment

Coming from a bassinet, the crib is going to feel HUGE to your baby. To make the crib feel more like the bassinet and keep your baby more cozy, avoid placing your baby in the middle of the crib right away. Instead, place them in the crib kitty corner. So your little one’s head could near the rail closest to the wall and the feet closest to what would be the footboard. Also, keep the room cool and dark, similar to their previous sleeping environment.

3. Create a Consistent Routine

A consistent bedtime routine is crucial. This could include a bath, a story, and some quiet time before bed. The routine signals to your baby that it’s time to sleep, no matter where they are.

Did you know?

Studies show that children who have a consistent bedtime routine tend to sleep better than their routine-less counterparts, including:

  • Falling asleep easier
  • Having better sleep quality
  • Meeting their daily sleep needs

4. Use White Noise

A sound machine playing white noise can create a familiar environment for your baby. White noise mimics the sounds they heard in the womb and can be incredibly soothing.

5. Make Your Baby Feel Secure

Babies love routine and consistency – it helps to make them feel safe and secure. One easy way that you can keep consistency is to use the same type of sheets in the crib as you used in the bassinet. The familiar smell and feel can comfort your baby during this transition.

Also, if you want to take an extremely gradual approach, consider keeping the crib in your room initially to provide a sense of security.

6. Use a Baby Monitor

If your little one is napping in their crib or sleeping in their crib in their own room, a baby monitor is going to be a god send! A baby monitor can give you peace of mind by allowing you to see and hear your baby during the day and throughout the night. This way, you can respond quickly if they seem distressed or uncomfortable.

Common Questions About the Bassinet to Crib Transition

Will My Baby Sleep Well in the Crib?

It’s natural to worry about your baby’s sleep quality during this transition. Remember, patience is key. It might take a few nights for your baby to adjust, but consistency will pay off.

What if My Baby Wakes Up Frequently?

If your baby wakes up frequently:

  1. First pause to make sure that your little one is actually awake. Babies will make noise when transitioning sleep cycles so pausing is your best first steps.
  2. And your little one is truly awake, try to soothe them back to sleep without picking them up right away. Gentle pats and a calm voice can help them settle back down.
  3. Keep in mind that if this happens continually, there may be something else at play, like the 4 month sleep regression.

How Can I Make the Crib More Comfortable?

It is safest for your baby to sleep in the crib, on a firm mattress with a fitted sheet and nothing else in their sleep space aside from your baby in a sleep sack.

Avoid adding extra blankets, pillows, positioners, bumper pads, pillows or toys to the crib, as these can create suffocation and strangulation hazards, which can be risk factors for SIDS. Instead, focus on maintaining a consistent sleep environment with familiar sheets and white noise.

The Benefits of Moving to a Crib

Transitioning your baby to a crib has several benefits:

  • Safety: Cribs are designed to be safe for babies who can move around, reducing the risk of falls.
  • Space: Cribs offer more space for your baby to move around while sleeping as well as explore and develop new skills.
  • Sleep Quality: A crib provides a designated sleep space, which can help improve your baby’s sleep patterns.

Tips for a Smooth Transition From Bassinet To Crib

  1. Stay Calm and Positive: Your baby can sense your emotions. Staying calm and positive can help reassure them that the crib is a safe and comfortable place to sleep.
  2. Be Patient: Every baby is different. Some may adjust quickly, while others may take a bit longer. Patience and consistency are key.
  3. Seek Support: If you’re struggling with the transition, don’t hesitate to seek help from a sleep consultant like us or pediatrician. They can provide personalized advice and support.

In Closing

Our team of certified child sleep consultants and parent coaches has helped thousands of families successfully navigate this transition as well as all of the other transitions babies and toddlers go through that can impact sleep. We understand the challenges and are here to support you every step of the way.

Are you ready to help your baby transition to a crib? If you need more guidance or support with your baby’s sleep, we’re here for you! Schedule a discovery call today and let’s chat about working together.

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