Transitioning to the Crib
I’ve talked to so many mamas about this and thought I would share my own experience in hopes of helping you (if you are struggling with sleep.) I want to preface that YOU are the mom and YOU have to do what is best for you and your little one. It’s so important to use your gut instinct to decide when it’s best to make the transition to the crib.
How we knew it was time
I honestly went into motherhood thinking that Ford would sleep in our room for the first 6-months. That is the safe practice that most recommend. However, I had no idea how having him in the room would affect my sleep and my marriage. It also wasn’t the best set-up for Ford, who is the most important in making the decision. To sum it up, we needed to get comfortable with Ford’s sleep habits and feeling confident that he was safe at night. It was so important for him to be in our room the first 10-weeks.
(Side Note: we started with in the bassinet on my side of the bed - in arms reach. As we got more comfortable, we moved the bassinet to a corner in our bedroom that wasn’t as close to me. So, I would have to get out of bed to soothe or nurse him. I think starting with this small step made the overall transition easier on us both.)
By 11-weeks, it was time (for us) to make that transition.
I knew it was time because he was no longer making progress in his sleep (not sleeping longer stretches that we knew he was capable of). We (especially me) were getting no sleep. I was sleeping with one ear open, listening to Ford’s every move and sound. I think he was also was getting distracted by ME. I swear he could smell me and would wake up wanting to nurse. So, it was a cycle of each of us sleeping anxiously and waking each other up. We decided, let’s at least try to move him to his room and see what happens.
How we made the transition
We literally woke up one day and I decided it was time. There was no looking back! So, we started by moving his bassinet into the nursery. We thought that would be the best place to start! We also kept him in his swaddle (this one) to keep him in his usual routine.
Before moving him to his room, Ford was waking up every 3-4 hours. He would do one long stretch at the beginning of the night (around 5-6 hours), but then it would be frequent wakings to nurse starting around 1am. I was SO. TIRED. The first night we move him to his room, I actually slept so well. It was a huge relief to me. I know many mamas find this transition stressful, but it actually made me less anxious. I think it’s because I needed that space for me to relax. We all react to this change differently, so don’t feel bad about how you take it either way!
Each night it got better and better. By one week in his bassinet in the nursery, he was only waking up 2x a night. This was a significant difference from waking every couple of hours! And I felt so much more rested. I think the sleep I was getting was more restful.
(Side note: we live in an old home and his room is on the same floor as us. So, I don’t keep the monitor on throughout the night. If he wakes up and cries, we heard him. We didn’t hear the little sounds he was making when in his room. I knew he was fine and healthy, so didn’t stress about anything bad happening. I think not listening to the monitor all night helped me, but I know every mama is different. Just DO YOU!)
Moving to the crib
After two-weeks of getting comfortable sleeping in his own room, we decided to transition him to his crib. We started by having Ford take naps in his crib until he felt comfortable and then moved ALL SLEEP to his crib. No more naps in the swing or bouncer, to make this work, we wanted to establish that his crib in his room is where he sleeps.
This was helpful for me because there were a few times during the exhaustion phase that I was letting Ford fall asleep on me in the rocking chair or even in my bed. Mamas, desperate times call for desperate measures. I had to let him do that because I was so tired. I know it wasn’t safe. And I know it wasn’t what I wanted to do. But it is what it is. Do not beat yourself up if you are co-sleeping!
Overall, he did really well in the crib. We kept him in his favorite swaddle until he started to flip on his tummy at night and then transitioned to the Magic Merlin Sleep Suit. Ford wants to be a tummy sleeper, that is our battle, but since he is strong - can push up easily and flip each way, we didn’t flip him back at night.
Setting good sleep habits
Making this transition to the crib was challenging at times, but it was so beneficial to all of our sleep. I love getting to share my room with my husband again, not have to worry about talking or reading a book before bed, not having to tip-toe in and out of our room every night. I love having space to sleep on my own. It’s truly what was best for us! If you are wanting to make the transition (no matter what stage you are in) I support you!
One more tip that has helped us is creating a nightly bedtime routine that you stick with! We always do: bath, pajamas, bottle, book, and bed (in that order - every night). We also keep the crib to be a place of sleep only. We do not let Ford play in the crib with toys, etc. We do let him play in his room at night or in the morning, but it’s more of a quiet and relaxing place than a place to keep his distracting toys and activities. This is what works for US. Find a routine that works for YOU.
Finally, we also keep Ford in the crib for the same time (7:30pm - 7:30am) every day. Minus any night feeds (he is still doing 1x a night at 5-months). This keeps him on a routine and sets up the expectation that at night, he is in his bed. We use this sound machine with a time that goes off every morning to remind him if it’s time to wake up. We love it! Especially since you can control it from your phone.