How to Get Your Baby to Sleep in a Crib

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Bedtime can be a particularly difficult time for new parents. It can be difficult to get babies to sleep through the night, and just as difficult to get a baby to sleep in a crib.

If you want to know the best ways how to get your baby to sleep in a crib, here are some of the best ways.

How to Get Your Baby to Sleep in a Crib

When to Transition Baby to Sleeping in a Crib

At about six months of age, babies develop sleep habits that can be very challenging to change. For that reason, it’s a good idea to get them sleeping in a crib before that age.

Here’s a good idea of what to expect:

  • From 0-3 months: baby is sleeping in a bassinet or some other bedside sleeper, where you can respond to them quickly at night.
  • From 3-6 months: transition baby into sleeping in a crib in your bedroom. Room sharing is recommended until babies are at least six months old, and pediatricians recommend room sharing for even longer, until the baby’s first birthday.
  • From 6-12 months: transition baby into sleeping in a crib in the nursery

Pediatricians also advise that babies can sleep in a crib from the time they are newborns, and there is no need to start them in a bassinet.

Full-sized cribs can look large and un-cozy to parents, which is why most families opt for an infant or newborn sleeper, but it isn’t necessary for a baby’s health or safety.

How to get Baby to Sleep in Crib

Getting a baby to sleep in a crib is about developing the right set of sleep associations so that babies get in the habit of going to sleep in a crib.

For example, if a baby gets accustomed to falling asleep while they are being held against your body, then when they wake up in a crib at night they will want to be held until they fall asleep again.

If a baby is used to falling asleep right after a feeding, they will want midnight feedings to help them fall asleep again in their crib.

To help them fall asleep in their crib when they wake at night, you need to help them develop the habit of falling asleep in their crib, to begin with. To do this:

  1. Place your baby in the crib when they are very sleepy, but not yet asleep. Letting them fall asleep in the crib helps them keep on sleeping in the crib.
  2. Swaddle young babies. If a baby is used to the warmth and smell of your body when they fall asleep, the crib may feel cold by comparison. Swaddle the baby and hold them for a while, then place them in the crib, so it doesn’t feel colder (but avoid overheating), or use a sleep sack for older babies. You might also wrap the baby’s bedding around your body so that it smells like you.
  3. Don’t give food just before sleep. A baby who associates food with sleep will often wake and want to feed. Try not to build an association between feeding and sleeping.
How to Get Your Baby to Sleep in a Crib

Tips For Getting Your Baby to Sleep in a Crib

Be Patient

Every step of sleep training takes 3-5 days, and it can feel like it’s not working at all. But be patient, and your baby will learn to sleep in a crib.

Consistency is Key

Establishing a bedtime routine and then sticking to it every night will help babies associate the routine with sleeping.

Feed, bathe and change your baby, then dim the lights and engage in calming activities like singing, reading, or cuddling until they are almost asleep. Then place them in their crib.

Keep a Sleep Training Log

Sleep training is hard on parents, and it can be frustrating and demoralizing. Keep a written log of your routine and your progress, so you can review it when you need a reminder of how far you’ve come.

Take Gradual Steps

If your baby only sleeps when being rocked or when they are in motion, reduce one thing at a time; put them in the car seat, but don’t go anywhere.

Put them in the swing, but don’t swing it. When the baby is very sleepy, remove them and place them in their crib.

If the baby is used to falling asleep while being touched and caressed, put them in the crib and pat or stroke them gently, then stop before they fall completely asleep.

Over time, reduce the patting and touching.


Getting your baby to sleep in a crib can be frustrating, but if you do it gradually, allowing 3-5 days for every small step, you will eventually have a baby that sleeps in a crib and sleeps on a schedule that is better for you and your family.

Be patient, be consistent, and keep your head up – you can do it!

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