Before you gave birth to your baby, you probably had a vision of how they would fall asleep in their crib or cot and look completely cosy, much like the images you see when you're shopping for said crib or cot! But don't let those perfect images fool you - many babies will refuse to fall asleep in their crib or cot, and that's completely normal.
If your baby struggles with falling asleep in their crib, don't worry. It's perfectly normal for those tiny humans to resist when away from the warmth and cosiness of mummy or daddy's chest.
While there's no simple trick to help your baby sleep in the crib, there are a few things you can try to ensure their transition from falling asleep on you to falling asleep in their crib is as easy as possible.
Getting your baby to fall asleep in their crib
Sleep is vital for the whole family, so it's important you work to find solutions for their sleep issues. Remember that, if your baby won't sleep in a cot, you're not alone and there are techniques that you can use to ensure that your little one falls asleep in their crib safe and sound.
Work on Self Settling
One of the best techniques to help your baby get used to their crib is to work on their ability to fall asleep and self-settle. There are a variety of methods that you can use however all focus on getting your baby to self-soothe themselves in their sleep environment.
With this, you put your baby down in their crib awake but drowsy, and depending on the method you choose, depends on what happens next. Also referred to as sleep training, you can work on self-settling from 4 months onwards and our 0-6 Month Sleep Series can really help you with this. Once self-settling is established, you should remain consistent with it if you want to help create predictable settled sleep for you and your little one.
Create an optimal sleep environment
Another step you can take that many parents swear by is creating the optimal environment for your baby to sleep in. There should be nothing else in your baby's cot or crib, there should be little distractions (no TV etc), and it should be dark, cool and quiet. It is also recommended to not use your mobile phone or smart devices while in your baby's room too.
Your baby may struggle to settle in its cot because they are missing that snuggle feel of your arms or chest. Think about it, being transferred from the warmth of your arms to being put down in a big cot can feel strange for a baby who is used to the comfort of you.
One trick you can try is a swaddle or sleep sack. Swaddles and sleep sacks act like a bit of extra security and warmth for your baby as they feel like they are still being cuddled by you.
Put your child down for naps in their crib
It can feel exhausting trying to get your baby down for their nighttime sleep in their crib, and if it's becoming a struggle consider starting off with naps.
Try getting your baby to take their first nap of the day in their crib or cot. Once that's working, put them down for the rest of their naps until your baby is used to it.
The main thing you want to do is ensure that you persist and soon enough your little one will be able to drift off in their crib with no problems!
For the past 9 months, your baby has been used to noises in your womb. We're not talking about loud noises here, but rather the constant hum of white noise and muffled sounds. White noise can help to drown out other sounds and distractions (such as older siblings and general traffic) and help your baby sleep. In fact, peer-reviewed studies have shown that white noise can soothe your child and help with better sleep.
White noise comes in a variety of forms and one great thing you can do is purchase a white noise machine or download an app to help you play it to your baby.
Read our earlier blog on White Noise
Consistent bedtime routine
Routine is key if you want to get your baby used to what's about to come. Try to establish a routine that is easy for you to follow whenever you are putting your baby down to sleep.
Your routine doesn't have to be complicated. You can feed them in a dimly lit room and give them cuddles before popping them down in their crib drowsy but awake.
If your baby starts to cry when you put them down, place your hand gently on their chest and softly pat and shush. This might take a few attempts, but it's perfectly normal.
It can be tough to be consistent, especially if your baby enjoys co-sleeping with you or you just find it easier to hold them while they sleep, but however tough it is you want to ensure that you remain as consistent as possible.
The more you stick to your routine, the more your baby knows what to expect and the better your results will be.
Getting your baby to sleep safely in their crib can feel like an overwhelming task, but rest assured that it won't be forever and with a little persistence your baby will soon be sleeping soundly in their own space.