Babies are cute, but they can be really expensive. And that’s not even the worst part; you need to find a way to safely sleep them. There are lots of options out there, and it might seem like an easy choice, but it’s actually more complicated than most people realize. Just because your baby is big enough for a crib doesn’t mean they’re ready for one.
Babies who spend too much time in their bassinet or playpen may never make the transition successfully – which means no more sleeping through the night! So when is the right time? Read on to find out!
When to transition from bassinet to crib?
You can transition your baby from using bassinet to a crib when around the 3rd to the 6th month but if your baby appears to like the bassinet, there is no need rushing them to transition to a crib.
Transitioning: What do I need to transition my baby from bassinet to a crib?
When transitioning your baby from using bassinet to a crib, you will need to make sure you have the following items:
- A mattress that fits into the new crib. You can purchase one or use the one that came with your bassinet if it is not too flimsy. Make sure it meets all safety standards for infant products.
- A new crib sheet – this is a must.
- A new mattress pad that fits your new crib’s mattress. This will keep the surface of your baby’s mattress clean and dry as he/she sleeps, thereby keeping him/her safe from developing SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
- A breathable bumper or mesh bumpers that fits snugly around the crib. This is for safety purposes and will ensure your baby doesn’t get an arm or leg stuck between the bars of the crib.
- A top sheet that covers part of the side rails, such as a canopy. It’s not necessary to have one but it helps keep dust away from your baby when you do not have a ceiling fan.
- A fitted sheet that fits the new crib’s mattress snugly, just like you would do with your own bed to ensure that it stays put even if your baby moves or wiggles around when sleeping.
- A mobile for above the crib. This won’t be used until after your baby learns to roll over but it’s good to have for later.
- A waterproof mattress protector, just in case there are any accidents during the transition or after.
What about the bassinet?
Don’t forget to clear out your baby’s bassinet of all items before you begin transitioning him/her onto a crib – this will make it easier for you and your baby. Clear off the bottom of the bassinet, move out any items that are against the side rails, and take out the mattress padding if you have it.
What about my baby’s stuff?
Make sure to remove all soft toys, plush toys, pillows, stuffed animals, blankets and sheets from your baby’s crib before the transition. Baby sleeping bags are also not recommended as they have been linked to SIDS. If you are breastfeeding, make sure your baby is comfortable enough during the night by wearing a loose-fitting nightgown or t-shirt and use an extra blanket if needed.
What about naps?
You can still place your baby in his/her bassinet for naps if you wish, even while transitioning. Just make sure to follow the guidelines above and place him/her in a safe sleeping position with no loose bedding or toys nearby. You can also use a crib wedge or rolled-up towels underneath one end of his/her mattress to keep it elevated at an incline if it helps your baby sleep easier (read our article for more about safe co-sleeping).
What if my baby doesn’t like sleeping in the crib?
Some babies take longer than others to adjust to their new surroundings. If your baby seems reluctant, you can try placing his/her favorite plush toy in the crib with him/her, or try putting the crib in your room for a night or two so that he/she can get used to it. If you feel like doing this will make your baby want to try sleeping in his/her room, go ahead and do so! May as well take advantage of it while they are still young enough not to mind.
If after a few days, still no change occurs and your baby is not sleeping well in the crib, you can always try putting him/her back into the bassinet for a couple of weeks more before trying again. If this is your first child , chances are high that once your baby gets older, he/she will enjoy sleeping in his/her crib.
A couple of weeks might seem like a long time to some people, but if you try the transition while your baby is still young, chances are better that it may fail and you would have to go through it all over again later. If you wait a little longer and try it when your baby is older, the transition might go more smoothly as he/she would be more aware of his/her surroundings.
I am Ashley Davis, a mom of three kids and the editor here at Motherhood HQ (formerly 10BabyGear). I have been a parent since 2011 and have been doing full-time consulting as a baby sleep expert since 2019. When I am not researching or testing the next baby gear hitting the market, you’ll find me teaching my toddlers a trick or two – especially over the last few months with the lockdown. I hope you’ll find my guides and reviews helpful as you make your next purchase decision. If you have any questions, you can reach me at email@example.com.