Helping Baby Adjust to the Crib

Most babies are put down to sleep in their cribs from the time they are brought home from the hospital. If, however, your baby has grown accustomed to sleeping somewhere else, it can be difficult to get her used to sleeping in the crib.

Many parents lay their babies down on their own beds to help baby get to sleep. As long as you are watching your baby, and move her to her crib after she falls asleep, that’s fine. Ultimately, however, your bed is not the safest place for baby to sleep.

There are several things about baby cribs which make them ideal for your infant:

  • Crib mattresses are generally much more firm than your mattress is. Soft mattresses are believed to be a cause of SIDS.
  • The sides of baby’s crib help ensure that she won’t fall out of bed once she is old enough to start rolling around a bit.
  • Sleeping alone is a crib is safer than co sleeping because it eliminates any chance that you will accidentally roll over onto your baby.

If your baby has trouble falling asleep when you place her in the crib, you have a few options. One is to simply let her cry it out. If she is tired, she will eventually fall asleep. Or, you could stay with baby, rubbing her legs or feet until she falls asleep. Another option is to hold your baby and rock her to sleep, perhaps singing to her or running her back, then placing her in the crib after she has fallen into a sound sleep.

Experts differ on whether you should tend to your baby every time she cries or allow her to develop her own ability to self soothe. Babies raised both ways overwhelmingly grow up to become healthy children and adults, so there’s really no need to worry about doing any permanent psychological harm to your baby. The main factor in deciding how you want to handle a crying baby really is how you feel about it.

Placing baby’s crib so that she will be able to see you if she wakes up will often help her to stay calm while in the crib, which may mean a little extra sleep for both of you. While most pediatricians don’t recommend having baby sleep in the bed with you, many do recommend placing the crib in the same bedroom.

As with most other experiences, your baby will get used to being laid down in the crib if you continue to lay her down there. Be consistent, and she will get used to the idea that the crib is the place to be when it’s time to sleep.