When my first children were just wee little infants, I always had a difficult time leaving them to sleep at night. I would wake often to check their breathing or gently touch their chests. They seemed so tiny in their great big cribs.
By the time my youngest children were born, the Rock n Play had begun to get raving reviews from parents across the globe. Both my babies and I slept so soundly once the Rock n Play cam into our lives. Unfortunately, I had no clue how hard it would be to transition my babies from the Rock n Play into their cribs.
Why is it So Hard to Transition a Baby From the Rock n Play to the Crib?
The Rock n Play is a godsend for parents of young babies. It is super comfortable and cradles your baby. The inclined head position allows your baby to breath easily and helps combat acid reflux or stuffy noses.
The very features that make the Rock n Play so inviting are what makes it so hard to tear your baby away from it. Babies become so accustomed to feeling so warm and snug that they often have a very difficult time getting used the wide open sleeping surface of a crib.
The Easiest Way to Transition Your Baby From the Rock n Play to the Crib
Transitioning your baby into her crib does not have to be a mega struggle. By following a few simple steps, you can ensure that this transition goes as smoothly as possible. If you skip any of these steps, you may find that you have a fight (and many restless nights) on your hands.
1. Find the Right Time
Do not rush your baby into accepting the crib. Instead, ease her into it gradually. If you try to move your baby to the crib too soon, it could make things unnecessarily stressful for both of you.
As previously mentioned, most babies are ready to make the transition between three and six months. Generally speaking, you will wait until she is sleeping all through the night and/or outgrows her Rock n Play.
2. Make Your Baby's Room Familiar
If your baby has been sleeping in her Rock n Play in your bedroom, you will want to help her make the transition by making her nursery as familiar as possible.
One sure way to help her make the transition is to move her Rock n Play into the nursery for a few nights. This process will help your baby grow accustomed to her new sleeping room from the comfort of her old familiar Rock n Play.
If you used a baby mobile with her Rock n Play, you will want to move it into her crib along with your baby. You will also want to move your scent into the crib as well. Try sleeping with her crib sheet on your pillow or under your body for a night or two to leave your scent on it.
3. Establish a Solid Routine
Now, I know that routine is often difficult to establish during your baby's first few months. At first, days and nights may seem to run together, for you and your baby.
Establishing a solid bedtime routine will go a long way towards helping your baby learn when it is time for sleep. Perhaps a warm bath in the evening, followed by a song and a bedtime meal, will help prepare your baby for the night.
4. Consider a Softer Crib Mattress
Seeing as how your baby has probably had her tush spoiled by the plushness of her Rock n Play, she may have a difficult time transitioning to a much firmer crib mattress.
If her mattress is very firm, consider switching it out for a softer crib mattress. There are many nice, soft mattresses to choose from that are constructed out of many different materials. Choose one that has been thoroughly reviewed by customers and experts alike.
5. Elevate the Head of the Mattress
Babies quickly become accustomed to the inclined position of the Rock n Play. Switching your baby onto a flat crib mattress may be upsetting to her.
Elevate the end that her head will be on using one of two methods:
- Prop the entire crib up on one end using books or blocks under the legs (make sure it is stable)
- Buy a crib mattress wedge. A crib mattress wedge is designed specifically to elevate the head of the mattress. Some varieties even have soothing vibrations to lull your baby to sleep.
6. Crib Pillow Mattress
A crib pillow mattress wedge is designed specifically to allow your baby to sleep soundly with her head and torso inclined to 15 degrees. Make sure the crib pillow mattress wedge that you select is firm enough to prevent your baby from rolling over and suffocating.
7. Use a Sleep Sack
One of the greatest advantages of using a Rock n Play is how safe and secure it makes a baby feel. The transition into the wide open space of a crib may leave your baby feeling insecure and unhappy.
Sleep sacks are a safer alternative to tucking dangerous blankets and pillows around your baby. These breathable sacks will wrap snugly around your baby and keep her arms and legs from flailing about. Buy sacks in different thicknesses to account for different seasons.
8. White Noise
White noise sounds very much like the sound babies hear while inside the womb is very soothing to babies. Devices that emit white noise tend to block out other noises in the house or outside of your baby's window.
There are many good products to try out. Some are very basic and simply run all night while others may run intermittently and kick on when your baby cries.
9. Say Goodbye to the Rock n Play
When you are finally ready to solidify the transition, get rid of the Rock n Play. Either sell it online or tuck it away in storage for future babies, but get it out of sight.
Keeping the Rock n Play around will only serve as a temptation to regress any progress you have made the first time you have a rough and sleepless night. Remember the old adage, "Out of sight, out of mind."
10. Stay Out
One of the hardest phases of this transition is letting your baby cry herself to sleep in her new sleeping environment. Unfortunately, this is inevitable. Don't fret as it will only last temporarily.
If, however, your baby and you have an especially hard time with the transition, you can ease into it. Start by letting your baby cry for 5 minutes, then soothing or holding her. Stretch the amount of time that you wait before comforting her by 5 additional minutes every night until she is sleeping soundly through the entire night.
To Wrap Up…
I truly hope my suggestions help you and your little one during this tough transitional time. Few things are more important than ensuring that both your baby and you have a healthy night’s sleep each and every night.
Please, don’t be shy! Leave a comment below, telling me if these tips and tricks helped you and your little guy or gal or if you know of a suggestion that I left out.