Babies sleep for 12 to 16 hours each day. That’s two naps and a longer stretch of sleep at night. With all that snoozing, many parents notice their babies outgrowing their bassinets and wonder when the right time is to switch their baby from sleeping in the same room as them to sleeping in a crib in their own room.
The answer depends on your baby. There are several milestones to keep in mind before you and your baby make this change.
Baby Milestones to Consider
Most babies start sleeping through the night at the age of 4 to 6 months. At this age, they’re able to go through the night without needing food, and you start to enjoy longer stretches of uninterrupted sleep. During this stage, your baby is also growing rapidly and might start to outgrow their bassinet.
There’s no guide to tell you exactly when to move your baby to their crib, but there are some ways to tell if your baby is ready to make the switch:
- Your baby’s age. The six-month mark is when most parents say that their baby is outgrowing their first bed. Some babies grow faster than others and you might find their legs are getting longer by the day. At this age, it’s usually ok to make the switch.
- Your baby’s movement during the night. Take a look at how much your baby’s moving during the night. If they’re shifting positions and rolling over, it’s time to move them. A space that is too small for your baby like a bassinet can be dangerous for an adventurous sleeper because they can be smothered against the sides of their little bed.
- Your baby’s weight. Your current bassinet likely has a weight limit printed on it somewhere, or you can check the manufacturer’s website to find the weight limit. Follow the instructions on your bassinet to see if it is safe for your baby to continue sleeping in at their current weight.
- Your current night’s sleep. How much are you able to sleep when sleeping with your baby next to you? Do you or your partner wake up every few hours when the baby fusses? Or are you getting the right amount of sleep you need? Ask yourself these questions when you’re deciding if it’s time to move your baby to a crib.
Go Easy on Yourself
Parents are often surprised at their own reactions when it comes to changing the baby’s sleeping location. They’ve gotten used to having their baby right next to them when they start fussing and making the change can be emotional. Your baby is growing up.
It's recommended that you sleep in the same room as your baby for at least the first 6 months and up to your baby's first birthday for safety reasons. But that doesn’t mean you can’t move them out of their bassinet.
These tips can help ease your mind and make the move from bassinet to crib a little easier:
- Ease your baby into the crib. Let your baby take their naps in the crib. Next, let them have a play session in their new crib. Start small and easy, and let them get used to the crib, step by step.
- Put the crib in your room. This can make the switch a little easier for parents. If you’ve become used to having your baby in your bedroom, try to fit the crib in your room first before moving your baby into a different room. If your bedroom is too small, try setting up a bed in the nursery so you can be near your baby when they fall asleep.
- Make your baby feel secure. Use the same sheets in the crib as you used in the bassinet. A familiar smell can help relax your baby and help them sleep. A good swaddle can also help your baby relax, but don’t do it if they switch positions at night. It can be dangerous.
- Make sure the crib is safe . Use a firm mattress and a fitted sheet inside the crib, and don’t put extra pillows, blankets, or bumper pads inside. They’re a suffocation hazard for your baby.
- Use a baby monitor. Once your baby is sleeping in the crib, you might want to see and hear your baby at night for your own peace of mind. There are apps available for monitoring your baby too. They usually require two devices to work, like a tablet and a phone.
Keep the routine. Routines are very comforting for babies because they come to know what to expect every day. Continue with their bedtime routine as usual. Don’t attempt to switch their sleeping location if there is an event coming up that affects their sleep schedule, like a family vacation.