How to Teach Your Baby to Sleep in His Crib
My Tips for New Parents
I come from a large family and I've had a hand in helping raise many of my nephews. However, as involved as I was with my nephews, I've recently found that nothing compares to having your own baby. Eight months ago my husband and I were blessed with a baby son. He was a little bundle of joy that stole our hearts at first sight. When we got home from the hospital, I spent most of my days holding him and cuddling him, often sleeping with him napping on my chest. I loved this time with him
Over the next couple of months my son grew fast and his sleeping 18 hours a day changed. Suddenly, I found myself extremely sleep deprived and decided that a change was needed. In all my life, no one in my family had ever really utilized a crib or bassinet (gasp!). We had both crib and bassinet, but when we finally tried to put our son in either one, he would immediately awake from even his most sound sleep. So out of desperation for sleep of our own, we would return to him sleeping on my chest in our bed. Now, I do not recommend this because I know that it is dangerous for the baby and all experts warn against it. We did not want to do things that way, but we could not get our son to sleep on his own. We continued to do this for the next couple of months, until I got really serious about it again.
So here is what my husband and I did to get our son sleeping on his own:
- We got consistent. Each day around the same time we laid him in his crib to sleep. Even when he was taking cat naps we were careful not to let him fall asleep on our bed or on the couch...any sleep he got had to be in the crib.
- I sat around with his blankets and at bedtime I would put one in his crib so that he would have my familiar scent to help comfort him.
- If our son awoke while in the crib, we would rub his back or touch his arm to comfort him and give him his pacifier. We would avoid talking a lot to him or picking him up. We were trying to teach him to comfort himself while reassuring him that we were still there for him.
- At bedtime or nap time we would make sure that all curtains were drawn and that the lights were off or dimmed. When it was play time or feeding time, we worked to make sure that the house was a bright as possible.This helped to give our son the signal of when he should be getting sleepy and when he should be wide awake.
- We were persistent. Our son didn't magically start sleeping on his own overnight. Since he went months sleeping on my chest, listening to my heartbeat, it was quite a change for him. It took us a good couple of months to get him sleeping consistently on his own.
I also feel that I should point out that as you have your baby sleeping on his own, remember that it is now recommended that babies sleep on their backs (not on their stomachs). Also, do not allow your baby to sleep on or in fluffy, thick covers or with pillows since they pose a risk of suffocation. I believe that if you consistently follow these tips, you will successfully have your baby sleeping in his own crib. Good luck!