The Journey from Bassinet to Crib to Toddler Bed
Babies grow up so fast and go from bassinet to crib to big kid bed sooner than you realize. These transitions are important for growth and development but also for good sleep. Use these tips and guidelines to make the changes easier on both of you.
Bassinet vs. Crib
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that new babies sleep in the same room as their parents. Either a crib or a bassinet is fine for the baby, but some parents like to start with the bassinet.
A bassinet is smaller, easier to move, and less expensive than a crib. If you have a small room or limited funds, it’s a good place to start. The downside is that bassinets have weight limits, so you’ll need to transition your baby to a crib fairly soon.
When to Go from Bassinet to Crib
Exactly when a baby is ready to transition to a crib depends on individual factors. Most babies start sleeping through the night around four to six months. At this point, they don’t need to be in the same room with you all night, which will undoubtedly improve your own sleep. You can move them to a crib in their own room.
Check the weight limit on your bassinet. If they’ve outgrown the limit, it’s time. Other signs they’re ready for a crib include moving and rolling around during the night, sitting up in the bassinet, or if they look cramped inside it.
Transitioning to a Crib
Start by setting up a safe crib for your baby. Check out the Consumer Product Safety Commission Guidelines for crib safety. The guidelines include information on the elements that go into a safe crib, including the correct size of a crib mattress and how it fits, what should go into a baby’s bed and what shouldn’t, and more.
You can ease the transition by starting with the crib in your room until your baby adjusts to the new bed. Start with naps in the crib and move to full nights. You can also try sleeping in your baby’s room with the new crib for a little while to make the transition smoother. If they struggle to sleep, try providing white noise. Use a baby monitor in the new room to see how the baby is doing.
Transitioning to a Toddler Bed
There is a lot more variation in the timing of switching from crib to bed than going from bassinet to crib. A child can potentially stay in a crib past their third birthday. Signs your child will give you that they’re ready include frequently breaking out of the crib and asking for a big kid bed.
A toddler bed should be sturdy, low to the ground, and have removable rails. Look for certification from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association to know you’re getting a safe toddler bed.
Let your child pick out bed accessories they like: pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals to smooth this new transition. Create a soothing bedtime routine, like reading in their new bed before it’s time for lights out. Don’t forget to check toddler proofing around the house in case your child goes wandering at night.
Good sleep is essential for the whole family. If your child struggles with these bed transitions, check out the kid-friendly meditations, stories, and sounds on the BetterSleep app. They could help both of you get a great night’s sleep.
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