The moment you discover that a baby is on your way, the first thing you’d probably think of buying is a comfortable crib for your little angel. Choosing or creating a crib is an exciting yet challenging task, and most expectant moms spend so much time just to make sure they’re getting the best cribs for their babies. But all the efforts and money spent on getting a crib will go to waste if you can’t get your baby to sleep on it.
There’s a need to train your baby to sleep in the crib, this is to teach him to sleep alone especially if he’s used to sleep in your bed or your room. If you find it difficult to convince your baby to sleep in the crib, try the following tips to lure your precious tot into his crib.
Start a new routine before bedtime
Establish new habits and set routine before you try moving your baby into his crib. These habits should prompt your baby when it’s time to sleep by associating set routine with bedtime. Remind yourself to follow the routine consistently to avoid messing up the signals you wish to convey to your baby.
Try doing these following habits before putting your baby to sleep:
Snack before bedtime
Feeding your baby before bedtime provides him the nourishment he needs throughout the night. Most babies usually wake up at night because they’re hungry. Give your baby at least 60 ml of breast milk or formula milk before putting him to bed.
For babies aged 6 months and above, give them at least 15ml of cereal before bedtime. However, do not feed your baby with too much food because it will cause discomfort that may disrupt his sleep.
Give your baby a short, warm bath before bedtime
A relaxing and soothing bath can induce a good, deep sleep for your baby. Wrap your baby with a warm towel after a short bath to further soothe and prepare him for sleep.
In some cases, babies are more likely to feel energized after a bath, making them more difficult to put to sleep. If this is the case for your baby, give him a bath earlier in the day instead of doing it before bedtime.
Read a book
Although babies do not understand what you are reading, they can appreciate anything they hear especially when it’s their mom or dad speaking to them.
Pick a children’s book and read the story in a gentle and rhythmic voice. Most children’s books are especially written to soothe babies through simple rhymes and lullaby tones. Make it a habit to read a book while putting your baby to sleep.
Babies usually fall asleep after 5 minutes of reading. If your baby seems to be more awake after you’ve read several books for more than 10 minutes, stop reading. Remember, your objective is to associate the habit of reading a book with bedtime. Over time, your baby will understand that after you’ve read him a book, it’s already time to go to sleep.
Sing a lullaby
You don’t need to be a great singer to sing a soothing song that can help calm your baby. You only need to turn on your gentlest voice and hold your baby against your chest while singing a lullaby. The soothing voice and the relaxing vibrations from your chest are the perfect bits to ease your baby to sleep.
Make this a habit and gradually attempt to move your baby into his crib while singing a lullaby. Your baby will eventually go to sleep regardless of where he sleeps as long as you’re singing his favorite song.
Introduce the Crib to your Baby
You belong to the few lucky moms if your baby gets instantly comfortable alone with his crib. Babies are typically unfamiliar with cribs. If your little darling refuses to get into his crib for the first time, don’t force him. Take it slowly but surely. Follow these simple pointers that will help you get your baby to sleep in the crib alone.
Set the crib as a safe environment
One of the main reasons why your baby prefers to sleep on your bed is because they feel safer with you close to him. To get him familiarized with the crib, make it appear to him as a safe environment. Lure your baby towards the crib by putting toys in there for him to reach for.
Sooner or later, your baby will get used to the crib and he’ll eventually want to play with his toys in the crib. It’s completely fine to let your baby play in the crib but not for too long. Your baby might perceive his crib as a playground rather than a bed.
Train your baby to take a nap in the crib during the day
Once your baby becomes comfortable with the crib, it’s time to train him to sleep on it during the day. It is advisable to start training your baby to sleep on his own during the day because leaving him alone in the dark might frighten him, causing him to develop fear of cribs.
Once your baby gets used to sleep in the crib during the day, he’ll get more comfortable and will be able to adapt to the crib even at night.
Start training your baby to sleep in the crib at night
If your baby is able to take a nap in the crib during the day, you can start putting him in the crib at night. Your baby will usually fret at first. But don’t take him out immediately. Wait for a few minutes and observe.
If your baby falls asleep alone after a while, then good for you! But if your baby is unable to fall asleep after several minutes, it is an indication that he still has fear of cribs. If this is the case, move the crib next to your bed where your baby can see you as he falls asleep.
Let the crib stay in your room for several weeks until your baby learns to adjust sleeping in the crib at night. Try moving the crib further away from your bed night after night until your baby is able to sleep on his own without able to see you.
If your baby can already manage that, you can now bring back the crib into the baby’s room. Upon returning the crib in the baby’s room, observe his first night alone in the room. If your baby becomes uncomfortable, spend a few nights in the baby’s room where he can see you from his crib.
Train your baby to get accustomed with the crib in his room through your presence. To soothe your baby, gently pat his back while singing a lullaby to let him know your presence. Try to move further away from the crib night after night until he’ll be able to fall asleep even when you’re out of sight. After a few nights, try leaving him alone in his room.
While most cribs can be rocked to coax babies to sleep, you should gradually stop this practice when you start training your baby to sleep alone in the crib. Rocking your baby practically eases the baby because he knows you’re next to him. Try reducing the time you spend rocking your baby until he eventually becomes fully comfortable sleeping without being rocked.
Make the crib as comfortable as possible
Cribs are designed to cradle babies. This is where babies are supposed to sleep. Babies easily fall asleep when they feel comfortable of their environment. Any discomfort can disturb a good night sleep and can keep your baby from going to sleep.
It’s okay to place soft stuffed toys as long as these don’t distract your baby from falling asleep. Keep any hard stuff away from the crib that may bother or poke your baby. Place soft mattresses and comfy pillows to give them a feeling of being physically held into your arms. Choose mattress cases and pillow cases made from pure cotton which are proven better for sensitive skin.
Maintain a comfortable baby’s room
The crib isn’t the only thing you need to set in creating a comfortable environment that is conducive to a good sleep. You also need to set a comfortable mood in the baby’s room to make your baby feel safe and at ease on his own.
Install an air purifier to keep contaminants away from your baby, allowing your baby to breathe in clean air.
Babies are generally scared of the dark and they might freak out when you turn off the lights. However, you need to train them to sleep with lights off. Start by dimming the lights for a few nights. Once he settles in dimmer light, you can try switching off the lights in the baby’s room.
You’ll want your baby to have a long, adequate nap. Besides, babies need naps for their growth and development. You might want to keep unnecessary noises away from your baby during his sleep. Keep radios, televisions, or anything that may cause noise distance away from the walls of the baby’s room.
Inform other people in the house to keep their voices low while your baby is asleep. If noise is inevitable (i.e. your house is located in a rowdy urban area), you can play down the noise inside the baby’s room by playing soft music from recorded children’s songs or plush toys that can play calming music. The soothing music can help displace bothersome noises from the outside to help your baby drift to sleep.
And lastly, keep the baby’s room smelling good and fresh. Choose an air freshener with a calming scent that can relax and soothe your baby. The relaxing scent inside the baby’s room will induce your baby to sleep each time he smells it.