Transitioning a baby to a crib may sound like an extremely challenging idea to most parents. For many parents, especially those whose babies have acid reflux problems, the inclined structure of Rock N ́Play is a great bonus.
How to know when is the right time to transition baby from her Rock N ́Play? You might feel that it was just a few weeks back that your baby started sleeping through the night and now it’s time for you to change her sleeping habits. Mommies, if you want to learn how to transition your baby to a crib, this newborn hack is just for you.
When Should You Transition to a Crib?
Every baby is different, and no better than their parents understand what works best for them, hence, the answer to this particular question varies. Most babies transition to crib between 2 ½ to 5 months of age.
Don’t rush to transition your baby to crib too soon. The snuggly feeling of Rock N ́ Play is too comforting for the newborns, not to forget the value-add of incline. Trying to move your baby too soon might be stressful for you and your baby.
Always consider the safety guidelines of the gears you are using. Make sure your baby’s weight is well within the range mentioned in the Rock N ́ Play.
As soon as your baby touches the maximum weight mark of the sleeping gear, the cramped up space of the sleeper will give you a clear indication to transition your baby. There are many other pointers to look for to help you understand:
- When your baby starts to sleep for longer durations, especially at night, then it is the right time to train your baby to sleep in a crib.
- When your baby starts to roll over, then a gear like Rock n ́ Play is not safe to be used even with the buckles in place.
- If your baby begins to push off the bottom of the sleeper or acts restless then it is a possibility that the gear is no longer comfortable for her.
How to Wean Your Baby off the Rock N ́Play?
Start the training by making your baby comfortable with the new sleeping environment. It is difficult for even adults to sleep in a new hotel room, the same is with the babies, they won’t magically learn to adapt themselves to the flat and firm crib.
Make them spend some time in the crib. Let them play in the crib, read their favorite stories or sing their favorite songs, the more time they spend in the crib, the more familiar they will feel sleeping in it.
Once your baby is familiar with the crib, you can start training them to sleep in it. Let them take naps in the crib for a few days and gradually get them to sleep in the nursery at night.
Be familiar with safe sleeping practices. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following safe sleeping practices for babies:
- Place your baby on his or her back on a firm and flat surface.
- No bumpers, blankets, pillows or stuffed animals should be in the crib.
- Use fitted sheets, do not use soft and loose bedding.
- Let baby sleep in the same room as you, for at least the first 6 months.
- Use a pacifier for naps and overnight sleeps.
Babies thrive on repetitions and routines. A consistent routine conditions your baby and eases your stress when you want to make transitions.
It is therefore important to establish a solid bedtime routine for your baby before transitioning them to a crib. Changing the diaper, lowering the light, singing a lullaby are few such routines parents implements to signal their babies that it’s time to sleep.
Mothers are the number one source of comfort for their babies. It might sound weird but mothers’ scent makes babies sleep longer. You can try sleeping on the crib sheets to transfer your scent to your baby’s crib as your unique smell might comfort them.
Don’t place your baby at the center of the crib, place them such that their feet touch the end of the crib. You can also swaddle blanket rolls under crib sheets in a horse-shoe shape to mimic the confined space of a rock n ́play.
When placed like this, babies won’t feel like the crib is such a large and open space and feel more comfortable sleeping in it.
If your baby always lies with their head in the same position, then they might develop a ‘flat head’ or plagiocephaly. To avoid it, position their head in such a way that sometimes they face left and sometimes they face right.
If your baby has a reflux problem then creating a small incline will not harm and will help your baby to sleep for longer durations. You can roll up a towel and place it under the crib mattress or you can use a crib wedge.
After your baby has had a few nights to adjust to the setting, slowly reduce the incline until they are eventually laying flat.
Getting the room conditions right for the baby is extremely important. Babies love to sleep in dark and cool rooms. Noise machines are very helpful.
White noise is very soothing to babies as it mimics the sound that babies hear in the womb. The first 3 months of a baby’s life are also termed as a missed trimester, hence white noise and swaddling help to calm a baby as these conditions recreate a womb-like environment for them.
A humidifier also helps to make your baby sleep comfortably. A humidifier adds moisture to the air and loosens the build-up of mucus to create optimal breathing conditions. A cool-mist humidifier is, therefore, a must-have baby gadget.
Is it Safe for Babies to Sleep in Rock N ́ Play?
Unfortunately, earlier this year, Fisher-Price recalled its Rock N ́ Play sleeper, the news ran a wave of panic amongst parents who were still using it and even those who have used it for nursing their babies.
For more check out our article on How Long Can Baby Sleep in a Rock ‘n Play
The cozy structure, vibrations, and incline of the Rock n ́Play was a miraculous recipe for putting newborns to sleep, giving a sigh-of-relief to their sleep-deprived parents.
But, the same features that make it comfortable, were responsible for recalling this product. The same incline, buckles, and vibrations make it dangerous, as the babies can roll over and trap themselves which can ultimately suffocate their airways.
So, if you have a Fisher-Price Rock N ́Play, which is a popular baby “sleeper,” the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you stop using it immediately.
However, the deeper concern is, many parents don’t know how to stop using it or what to use instead. This post will help those parents who are struggling to adapt their babies to sleep on a flat crib as per the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
What are Safer Alternatives to Rock n ́Play?
Before jumping into the section of how to wean your baby to a crib it is important to cover this section for those parents who are darn desperate for sleep but also want their babies to be safe.
It is recommended that babies sleep on a firm and flat surface. The sleeping surface should not be cushioned and no pillows should surround your baby’s body or head.
Parents might find a reclined sleeping surface helpful to make their babies sleep for long, but any reclined sleep does not meet the standards for safe sleep and hence, these products should be used only while your baby is awake and supervised. You must not use these products for naps or nighttime sleep.
The gears that meet the CPSC standards of safe sleep are cribs, bassinets, play yards, and portable cribs. Below is a list of few such products that you can use to get your baby to sleep.
- Graco Pack N Play
- Fisher-Price Rock N ́ Play bassinet
- Cool mist humidifiers
- White noise machines
- Baby Bjorn cradle
- Snoo smart sleeper
How to reduce the risks of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)?
- Place your baby on their back to sleep. Let the baby sleep in the same room as yours, at least for the first 6 months.
- Don’t let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby.
- Don’t share a bed with your baby if you have been drinking alcohol, if you take drugs or you are a smoker.
- Keep your baby’s head uncovered. A blanket should be tucked no higher than their shoulders.
- Don’t let your baby get too hot or too cold.
- Never sleep with your baby on a sofa or arm-chair.
- Place your baby in the “feet to foot” position, with their feet at the end of the cot.
Do I need to rush my baby every-time she gets up and cries?
It is hard not to go and soothe your baby when she cries, but, if their needs are met, babies must learn to soothe themselves. Start by waiting for a few minutes, let’s say 5 if the baby is still crying then pick them up and soothe. Increase the time gradually until the baby manages to fall asleep by self-soothing.