Parents usually sleep with their babies during the first few months. This allows them to keep a close watch and attend to their baby’s demands.
Babies’ waking hours are quite unpredictable. They wake up late in the night and if you are not around, this may lead to loud cries. These loud cries can get annoying especially for your neighbors. More than being irksome, the loud cries can break your heart and make you feel helpless.
Getting complaints from neighbors is not something that any parent would like – especially during a time when they have to deal with a young baby. This is why parents result in sleeping with their babies.
Problems arise when your baby starts getting bigger. The bed becomes smaller and you start worrying that they will fall off.
When you eventually decide it is time for your baby to use a crib, the task becomes harder than you thought. Your baby does not want to leave your side. This is very common in newborns. The issue is that sleeping alone does not feel safe to them. They are used to having you close to them.
It is even harder when they wake up at night and find themselves alone. They usually panic and burst out crying. You have to teach your newborn to sleep by himself. This should be done before trying to move him into a crib.
At the age of four months, the baby’s brain is developed enough to learn new things. This is the perfect time for them to start using a crib. Some babies take longer to sleep alone but this should not exceed 18 months.
How to get baby to sleep in a crib?
If you follow the right steps, you can easily get any baby to get used to the crib. The real issue is not where the baby sleeps but if he can put himself back to sleep. We will outline some of the best techniques to do so.
The Febre method
This is probably the most effective technique. However, it requires some measures which may seem ‘extreme’.
It involves letting your child feel sleepy. Before they sleep, put them in the crib. You can then gently rub them or just stare at them. What this accomplishes is that your baby always falls asleep in her crib and not in your arms.
Once they fall asleep, quietly leave the room. Most often than not, they will wake up immediately after you leave the room. This is where you need to be strong. When she starts crying, do not rush into the room as usual. Give them some time to calm down, and understand that you will not come rushing to hold them close.
Listening to your baby cry is hard but if you wait for about five minutes, they will fall back to sleep. This, however, may not always work. If your baby cries for too long, you need to check on them. This technique is proven to work if you repeat it for about two weeks. After learning this, your baby knows how to put themselves back to sleep if they wake up at night.
Using day naps
Babies enjoy sleeping someplace where they feel safe. This helps them have quality sleep. Let your baby use a crib during naps. This will gradually make it familiar. This will help when you want them to switch to the crib at night.
Make the crib kid-friendly
You can place some toys in the crib. This helps them to actually enjoy being in the crib. Babies are used to being held. Giving them a toy to hold on to, can help them sleep. A warm and snuggly bear or a soft cartoon character. Give them anything fluffy and make the crib appealing for the child.
Decorate the crib
Use some brightly colored bedding. However, do not use too many colors since this can prevent the baby from getting sleepy. Some babies sleep better with dull-colored beddings. It is up to you to study your baby and decide the best colors for him. You can read more about the best colors for baby bedding.
Develop feeding patterns
Avoid feeding your baby right before you place them in the crib. They may interpret this as a sleeping habit.
If you had formed a habit of rocking your baby, they will not understand you want them to sleep if you just place them on the crib. Stop rocking them and let them learn to sleep while being held still.
Newborns are extremely sensitive. If you put them down right after they sleep, they will wake up. This is why it is very hard to teach a newborn how to sleep alone. However, older children are not that sensitive.
The Power of White noise
This refers to using sounds that make your baby feel relaxed. You can play soft music when your baby is sleeping. You must, however, make sure that this music will not suddenly get loud which can scare your baby. Babies have sensitive ears and loud music could trouble them through the night. Leaving the fan on is also used as white noise. This background noise soothes your baby whenever they wake up.
Use warm clothing
Avoid leaving any open windows or doors which can increase the chances of cold wind into the room. Make sure your baby sleeps in warm clothing or has a heavy blanket.
Experiment on the blankets to test whether your baby is comfortable with them.Soft blankets choke babies when they get tangled in them. It is sometimes better for babies if you buy them rigid bedding. Even the mattress your baby sleeps on should not be too soft as they can get tangled in it.
Increase their play time
Babies who play a lot during the day are normally very tired. They fall into deep and long periods of sleep. Avoid too much play as this makes them sleep early. This will lead to waking up late at night. If you are trying to teach them to get used to the crib, you want them to avoid waking up in the middle of the night.
Try being patient with the baby. Some babies may take longer to get used to the crib than others. This may be due to other factors some of which are beyond their control. Find out if your baby has any complications which may require you to sleep with them.
Will the above-mentioned methods work? A combination of more than two of these techniques is actually more effective than using only one. Decide on which ones work best for your baby and stick with them.