Babies grow quickly. One second they’re teeny tiny newborns, and the next thing you know, your baby will be walking on their own. Every few months or so, your little one will be growing out of their onesies, footies, and bassinets.
For the first few months of their lives, babies may sleep in bassinets because they’re compact, fitting easily into your bedroom, and putting your little one down can be easier since the walls aren’t as high.
Bassinets are great for those early months when your little one wakes up often, but eventually, they have to move into a crib. This isn’t only because of their physical growth — as babies get more coordinated, they need bigger spaces for sleeping and higher sides.
Every baby grows at their own rate, so there isn’t a hard and fast rule for when your baby needs to be transferred to a crib. However, there are a few clues that can let you know when it’s time.
When Should I Move My Baby Into a Crib?
Most babies are ready to move into a crib when they’re between three and six months old. Most bassinets have a weight limit.
Once your baby reaches a certain weight, they’ll be too big for the bassinet to hold. Fifteen pounds is a reasonable guideline to keep in mind if you can’t find one on the bassinet.
Generally, most babies also start to sleep for longer periods once they reach three to six months, and they’re more mobile. They need a little more space so they can roll around in their sleep. It’s important to pay attention to your little one’s development, so you can guess when they’re ready.
You’ll also want to give yourself a little time. It might take a bit for your baby to feel comfortable sleeping in a new space since babies usually prefer the familiar to the new.
What Are the Signs That My Baby Is Ready To Move?
Your little one’s growth is a great way to track when they’re ready to move into their crib. Sometimes it can be a little bit obvious that your baby is ready to move out of their bassinet. You may notice that their legs are getting a bit too long or that they have less wiggle room.
Another sign that your baby is ready to move into a crib is that their motor skills have developed. Once babies start to push up on their hands and knees and when they start to roll, it may also make it difficult for your little one to sleep well: Rolling into the sides might wake them up.
Generally, once your baby reaches six months, it’s time for them to move into a crib. Although you can wait until your baby is six months, as long as other milestones aren’t met first, the transition might be more difficult. They’ll be more likely to associate their bassinet with sleep rather than the crib.
Can My Newborn Start Out in a Crib?
You may be wondering if your baby needs to sleep in a bassinet. After all, buying two things for your baby to sleep in may seem like a lot. Even though bassinets can be helpful for some parents, newborns can also sleep in cribs.
As long as your baby can sleep on a firm surface (without any pillows or blankets or stuffed animals), they’ll be fine. A crib that meets safety standards will be perfect for your little one. Most people choose to use bassinets because they are small.
If you do choose not to use a bassinet, you should still place the crib in your room for at least the first six months. Room-sharing is recommended for the first six months to one year of your baby’s life. It makes it easier to check on your baby, respond more quickly when they wake up, and breastfeeding can be done in your own bed.
Co-sleeping, or sleeping in the same bed, isn’t recommended since adult beds usually aren’t as firm, and they aren’t as safe for babies.
What if They’re Not Ready for Their Own Room?
If your baby is ready for a crib, but they aren’t ready to move into their own room or their room is too far away, you can put a crib in your bedroom. However, if there isn’t enough space, there are other options.
Travel cribs, like pack-n-plays, are helpful products for people who have limited space in their room, and it’s also lightweight and easy to move around. Plus, you may be able to find a crib that’s smaller than others and will fit better into your bedroom.
If you do decide that your little one is ready for a new room, one that’s near your room is the best option — just in case your baby has trouble sleeping. You can also use a baby monitor if the room is farther away or if you would like extra reassurance that your baby is okay.
How Can I Make the Transition Easier?
Some babies may not settle into their new crib right away. They need some time to get used to it since it’s unfamiliar. Fortunately, we do have a few tips that can help your baby transition.
Many of these tips can also help if your little one is having trouble sleeping in a crib.
Take Your Time
Babies like it when things stay the same, so it may take a little patience. Instead of starting off by having them sleep in the crib for the night, you may want to try starting off with a nap. Once your baby is more comfortable with the crib, they’ll be more likely to sleep in the crib for longer periods of time.
You may need to slowly increase the number of nights a week that your baby sleeps in their crib. You could start out with a couple of nights one week and then four nights the next.
Help Your Baby Get Used to the Crib
It may help your little one to spend time in the crib outside of their bedtime. That gives them a chance to explore their new environment. Even if your little one is an extrovert, they need time to adjust to new situations and places.
There are plenty of ways to familiarize your baby with their new crib. You can let them watch a mobile in the crib, or you could do tummy time in it one day. If your baby is sitting up, playtime can also be done in the crib, at least for a little bit.
Keep Established Routines
If too many things change at once, it may be more difficult for your little one to feel comfortable in their crib. That’s why it’s better to continue the same routines that you had before, just with a different destination.
Following an established routine, it helps your baby learn that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep.
One thing that can help your little one transition to their crib is for you to stay nearby for a bit, especially if they’re in their own room. For the first few nights, you might want to consider sleeping in the room with them. They’ll be able to see you if they get upset, and they may feel safer.
You and your partner can also sleep on the sheet before putting it in your little one’s bed so that your little one can smell you while they’re sleeping.
Help Your Baby Get Comfortable
Your baby will also sleep better if they’re comfortable. If the room is too hot or too cold, they may not be able to sleep as soundly. It can also help to make sure there aren’t any distractions in their environment.
Things like too much light or loud noises can disturb a baby’s sleep. Blackout curtains can help keep out any bright light during nap time. White noise machines can also help make their room a more comfortable place. It blocks out disturbing noises and instead offers soothing alternatives.
Adjusting As You Go
Unfortunately, babies aren’t small forever, even though we wish they would stay that way. Time passes so quickly; it seems like you just found out about your pregnancy!
Eventually, they’ll grow out of their clothes and their bassinets. We can’t pinpoint exactly when every baby will be ready to move into their crib, but we do know that your little one will let you know.
You can tell by how they are growing. They’ll be getting bigger, and their motor skills will improve. When they start to get too big for their bassinet, your little one may need some time to transition. A new environment requires some time to get used to, even for our adorable babies.
How to Transition from Bassinet to Crib | Boys Town Pediatrics
Sharing a room with baby reduces SUDI risk | Raising Children Network
Transitioning from a bassinet: How and when to move your baby to a crib | Today's Parent