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5 Reasons Your Baby Hates the Crib

5 Reasons Your Baby Hates the Crib

Maybe it’s uncomfortable? It lacks pillows. The mattress is plastic. Maybe it’s the COLD plastic that is the problem. Have you tried warming it with a blow dryer before putting baby in there? Do you have cotton sheets? Is the thread count too low? What crib did you buy? Maybe you bought the wrong kind.

Sleep Fact # 73 – It’s not the crib.

In almost every conversation about getting babies to sleep in their crib the parent will suggest that the problem may be the crib itself. As adults we tend to project our own sleep “stuff” onto our little ones. We can’t sleep without our down comforter, allergen-free pillow, and 700 thread count sheets. So how can we expect our baby to sleep in a baby jail on a plastic mattress? Plus they cry whenever we put them in there so they MUST hate it, right?

There are many reasons why it’s challenging to get babies to sleep in their cribs. But none of them are about the crib. The bedding. Or the mattress.

Why Babies Hate the Crib

1

They’re not used to it

Most babies sleep primarily in their parent’s room for months so their own room (much less crib) may be a strange place they’ve barely glimpsed much less spent any time in. Often the baby’s room becomes the default storage place (because you never go in there) and ends up being dark, dusty, and cluttered. It’s like asking your baby to sleep in the Costco warehouse the day after Christmas. If so, it’s time to clear out the crap and start having some fun in there. Read books, sing songs, hang out in there! Even if you aren’t ready to permanently move baby into her crib, play with her IN the crib. It’s time to make her room/bed a familiar and happy place to be.

2

They don’t know how to fall asleep in it.

Your baby needs to learn how to fall asleep. This isn’t some autonomic process that happens on its own. Like potty training and successfully navigating a new car lease, it will require training and practice. Putting your baby in her crib and expecting her to figure it out on her own is unlikely to work any better than dropping her off at a dealership and waiting for her to emerge victorious with a new Prius.

3

It makes their tummy hurt.

This is RARELY an issue however some babies have food allergies and/or reflux which can make it almost impossible for them to happily spend time on their backs. Trying to get a baby to sleep in a crib with chronic heartburn will likely leave you both in tears. IF this is an issue for YOUR baby they may need to sleep at an angle for as long as long as a year. Because these babies often struggle with sleep I suggest the use of swings to keep them upright when they sleep.

4

It makes YOU uncomfortable.

Often parents have mixed feelings about the crib. They may have fears about the baby not being in the same room with them. Maybe both parents aren’t on the same page about moving baby to her crib so there is some contentiousness about it. But somehow babies who can’t reliably get their own fist into their mouth are remarkably sensitive to the emotional state of their parents. If there is any internal conflict about baby going into the crib it’s going to hinder your effort to help her sleep happily in there.

5

You’ve taught them to hate it.

Ouch! Stings a bit doesn’t it? Sometimes when babies are really fussy the crib becomes the default place to put them when they’re inconsolable and Mom needs a minute or two to collect herself. Which is totally understandable – sometimes you need to relieve your aching back, sometimes you’re just beat and need a safe place for baby while you take a deep breath, etc. More often well-meaning parents have taught baby to hate the crib through an unsuccessful attempt at CIO (note: CIO is a BIG topic and there will be BIG posts to go into it in more depth). Only now the crib has become the “penalty box” with only negative associations.

None of the reasons why your baby hates the crib have ANYTHING to do with the actual crib. I think people LIKE to think that it’s the crib because that is a really tangible problem to solve (ex. buy new better crib). Sadly helping your baby learn to love the crib is not a problem that you can shop your way out of.

Young house working girl in Nepal.
Bedroom of a young girl from Nepal.

I recently came across this site showcasing some brilliant photography from a book called Where Children Sleep. The author states that his goal was to provide these images and related stories for kids ages 9-13 to gain more cultural awareness about how different our lives are by relating it to something every kid is intimately familiar with – their own bedroom. Looking at the picturesmakes me feel like I’ve taken a stiff kick to the gut. Although I keep going back to look at them which suggests a deep psychological issue that I should probably look into.

But if you can overlook the overpowering poverty of many of the images, you may notice the fact that children can sleep in a dizzying array of environments. Many have no mattress, no pillow, and in some cases no walls. But everybody sleeps.

It’s not about the crib.

PS. In case you were wondering I survived the Spartan Beast! Running around a mountain tackling bruisingly hard challenges is not for everybody. But I highly recommend The Beast or the similar Tough Mudder. Why is getting tired, sweaty, and sore such a great idea? Because when you have kids it sometimes feels like you’re whole life is ABOUT kids. Entering a challenge event forces you to take back some time and mental space to prepare. And for 7 hours in the sun you will remind yourself that you’re not just a parent. You’re still a bit of a warrior.

PPS. If you have a second, voting for me at lovelinks will make your jeans fit better!


48 Comments


  1. It’s SO true – it’s not about the crib, and according to the pictures, it’s not even about the environment. It’s about the routine and the associations!

    • Ironically enough for my own refluxing babies it WAS the crib (although less than 2% of kids have this so it’s fairly rare). I remember being so relieved when I finally got #2 into the crib at 13 months. Course it had been sitting around gathering dust all that time so we had to clean it up a bit first 😉
      Thanks for visiting! 🙂

      • Oo – good point – you just reminded me of all the memories I completely repressed of my first child’s battle with acid reflux. We kept him in an upright baby rocking chair thing for the first 6 months of his life and then transitioned him to a crib with an inclined mattress! Oh, those were the dreaded days!

      • My baby is almost 5 months and has reflux and is taking Zantac. (He also has food sensitivities to dairy and soy so I am avoiding those while breastfeeding.) He is currently sleeping is a non moving swing that is reclined to an almost flat position. I would like to transition him to his crib soon. Do you have any suggestions on how to tell if his frequent night wakings are do to reflux, or something else?

  2. You’re right about the crib making ME uncomfortable. My babies slept right next to me until they were about 3 months before I moved them to the crib. I was breastfeeding them so I felt more comfortable having them right next to me on the bed.

    • Yeah both of my guys were in the same room with us for ~6 months. Although to be honest I slept better once they were gone because I wasn’t launching myself out of bed every time they grunted or sniffled in their sleep 😛
      Thanks for visiting!

  3. The only purpose of the crib in my house is for the baby’s afternoon naps. I try to make him fall asleep in my arms and put him in the crib afterwards. He cries when he wakes up. At night I let him sleep beside me and he is comfortable that way. You are right about that it is not about the crib. Thank you for providing solutions on how to make babies feel comfortable in their cribs. The picture and the story of the girl in Nepal are heartbreaking. Some parents are just cruel.

    • Hi Margaret,

      Babies are really good at sleeping one place for naps and sleeping elsewhere at bedtime, so whatever works for you is great! Good luck helping him to fall asleep without you. It’s definitely THE biggest sleep challenge for kids but I think you’ll find that when you get there, he won’t wake up from naps crying anymore. (Although he might, that’s just the way some kids are wired.)

      Good luck!

      PS. The pictures are all very sad. Even more so because it’s not because of bad parenting but due to almost unimaginable poverty 🙁

  4. My son is 15 weeks old and we are working him towards the crib for his daytime naps. At night he sleeps swaddled in the bassinet in our room. He’s been sleeping in a non-moving swing, dark room, white noise, swaddled for a little over a week now during the day. For weeks he’d been napping in the swing cranked on high. He takes anywhere from 45-2.5 hour naps in the non-moving swing, so I thought he’d be ready for the crib. I tried him in the crib for 1 nap (in the same room) yesterday, swaddled, etc. He slept about 45 minutes. Not terrific but doable. Today I put him down swaddled and about 10 minutes in, he had totally shimmied his miracle blanket up to his neck so he could suck on his hands. I decided to unswaddle him and just wrap a blanket around him. But then he rolled over to his tummy! (His new found talent as of 2 days ago). Problem is, he can’t roll back over and his arm got a little stuck in the crib slat, so I turned him back over. Again I saw that he rolled (thanks to the video monitor) and was fussing. This dance went on for about 45 minutes, until I finally gave up, swaddled him and put him in the non-moving swing. He’s now out. So my questions:

    1. Should I just wait and try it another week? I don’t want to lose my window of opportunity to get him into the crib. He sleeps great swaddled in his bassinet at night.
    2. Will his rolling over ever not affect his ability to sleep?
    3. Should I still try to swaddle him in the crib bc I think it prevents him from rolling?
    4. Any other advice for transitioning a roller into the crib??

    Thank you thank you thank you for this site!! I’ve been using your advice since 2 weeks and it has been a lifesaver!!

    • I found your comment on the swaddling post, which answers my question. Thank you!

      “Well swaddled babies on their tummies are a much larger SIDS risk so if she’s managing to flip over WHILE swaddled then NO MORE SWADDLING

      If you feel that she is just miserable WITHOUT being swaddled then strapping her into the swing would be your only option because she’s GOT to be OUT of that swaddle in her crib. Full stop.

      I hear your pain. Really I do. Your options?
      1) Swaddle + swing. Sure she’s a bit old but if she really needs all that soothing then that’s just where she is at right now. Are you using loud white noise too? (please say yes
      2) NO SWADDLE + crib. Well yes this is an option but it sounds like this option basically = CIO. The good news is that given some practice most babies figure out tummy-to-back flipping pretty quickly (it’s much easier than back to tummy) so give her PLENTY of tummy time/practice during the day. Hopefully once she has mastered both directions she can sleep unswaddled+happy in her crib.

      So maybe you do #1 for a few weeks, practice tummy time a TON during the day, get her to master flipping and then move on to #2?”

    • The double swaddle has solved our rolling over in the crib problem!! Hallelujah for long naps in his crib!

  5. I neeeeed help! I feel like I’m losing it! I don’t know what to do! I followed this site for CIO, and it seemed to work well in the beginning, but now everything has taken a turn for the worse! Recently my 7 month old son got sick, so we didn’t feel it was right to let him CIO while sick and congested. We tended to him whenever he stirred. I know this created habit and he got used to us doing this. But once he started feeling better we went back to CIO. It’s not working! He’s still CIO every night to go to sleep, or he wakes up shortly after going to sleep and starts screaming. Soothe checks don’t work. He gets more angry. He’s waking every hour to two hours throughout the night and won’t fall back to sleep on his own without screaming. What am I doing wrong?? I’m so incredibly frustrated!!

  6. But maybe it *is* about the crib. The crib in a separate room is kind of unique from so many other forms of sleep that put parents and baby together, at least in the same room and often on the same sleeping surface. I’m not a co-sleeping advocate, but I’ve found my baby sleeps best that way. She likes to be near me.

    So maybe for babies it doesn’t matter if they’re on the floor, living on top of a dump, sleeping a tatami mats in japan or sharing a bed. A crib is tough – so isolated.

    We have our crib right next to our bed in our room per the recommendation by the AAP to roomshare.

  7. For us, it seems to really be about the crib and I have no idea what to do. My guy is almost 9 months and had a really rough time with GERD when he was tiny. But he hasn’t had any signs of reflux for about 2.5 months and is not on any medication. He rarely spits up now (only if he eats more than 7-8oz at a time (he’s bottle fed breast milk)), never makes that dreaded choking sound anymore. But he will not sleep in the crib for more than a few hours and he wakes up hysterical every time. If we put him in the little inclined sleeping bed (rock n play) he sleeps better and wakes up much less upset. We have a great bedtime routine that we’ve been using for 6 or 7 months, he sleeps in his room and has since he was 6 months old, so the room is not the issue. He plays in his crib each night while I run the bath and is happy there awake. He naps well throughout the day, goes to bed between 7 and 8 (bedtime depends upon naps and sleep cues throughout the day), he puts himself to sleep beautifully, but he cannot sleep for more than 2-3 hours in the crib and always wakes up inconsolable. I am stumped.

    • Katie did you ever figure out a good way to transition into the crib from rock n play? We are in the same boat right now and can’t find a solution. He is almost seven months and goes to sleep great, and if we put in the rock n play he will sleep 8-11 hours solid. He has done this since two months old. If we put in a crib he lasts a few hours at most and wakes up so upset. I believe it IS the crib, he is used to the comfort of the sides and feeling nested a bit vs being able to sprawl out. Contrary to what since others say, he leans to different sides, alternates his head side to side, etc. in the rnp, so it hasn’t limited him from movement like walking would. He can easily flip back to tummy and vice versa and get into sitting position from crawl position. He is getting to big for rnp and we don’t know what to do!

      • Melissa-

        We actually ended up putting our son in a floor bed. We baby proofed his room heavily (everything bolted to the walls, nothing but books and stuffed animals), plopped his crib mattress on the floor, got a good video monitor, closed the door and gave it a try. Within a week, he was sleeping through the night for the first time in his life. I know it sounds strange, but it just worked for him/us- he really truly hated the crib and this was an alternative that worked for us. It’s obviously not right for everyone, but it’s what finally worked for us.

        • Thank you so much for sharing Katie! Very creative idea, I am definitely going to consider. I appreciate you replying. All the best, Melissa

        • I would be really cautious about the floor bed. As in REALLY.

          Often these work for periods of time but the stop working. The novelty wears off? Not sure. All I know is that anecdotally I know of no families who went the floor bed route and had it work awesomely forever. Eventually it stops working. Much like a toddler bed, your child needs the temperment, age, and maturity to be able to successfully handle the mobility of any “not crib” sleeping situation. Thus your mileage will vary.

          • While I appreciate your experience and having helped a lot of families, the floor bed worked well for both my kids, without issue, and has worked for several of my friends. If you look into the Montessori floor bed principles, you might be surprised. Our older son became an all around better sleeper once we made this transition and I think it was because, even at 10 months, it taught him to listen to his own sleep cues, rather than forcing him to lay in a crib without any ability to consider his needs. Just food for thought. I have two VERY different kids, both of whom had wonderful, positive experiences in a floor bed.

            • Our son got an Ikea mattress at the age of 1. He’s 2.5 now and he’s slept His nights since he’s been 6weeks old. Our daughter is a complete different story, loves our bed, hates her crib. Always gets stuck between the bars, moves around alot. We will be buying a mattress for her soon. {she’s 8 months) she will wake up crying, we put her on our mattress, leave the room and she’s out instantly.
              Doesn’t hurt to try the mattress on the floor. Good luck to all.

  8. Please, I need help!! I’ve been reading this website since my baby was about 3 months old and I have put in practice a lot of the things I read in here. So by 4 mo he was a great napper, fell asleep on his own in his crib and slept like a log with one feeding a night. Now he is 6 1/2 mo old an we have a problem: HE HATES THE CRIB! Around 6 mo he started having problem with his sleep and I thought it was the 6 mo sleep regression, but since I knew how important it was for him to take his naps I did everything and anything to put him down. So I started rocking him to sleep, but still put him down drowsy. And now I cannot get out of it. During the day, we have him on our room, in our bed for eating and playing; when it’s sleep time and we put him in his crib, he starts screaming, but immediately calms down if you pick him up. For the night sleep, there are times when I will put him down and falls asleep on his own, and times when he does the exact same thing as during the day. To me it is clear that he is perfectly capable of falling asleep on his own (he has done it for months, and still does it sometimes). Please, help me cause I don’t know what to do to break this habit (during the day the routine is eat-play-sleep; for the night sleep it’s bath-eat-story-sleep).

    • Hey Simona,

      I don’t have an easy answer for you. My best guess is that this is a separation anxiety issue – he wants to be with you ALWAYS. Usually you see this stuff closer to 8 months but maybe he’s a really advanced kid 😉

      What happens when you rock him and put him down drowsy – he starts screaming? Then what happens?

      What happens if your partner puts him down – same level of screaming? I would start there (he’s probably MORE attached to you). I would also play around with not picking him up but touching him IN the crib – play around with a variety of sushpat or patting his belly/back like a tom tom. The idea is to calm (if possible) with the contact he craves but keep him IN his crib and awake.

      Also this could totally be the 6 month sleep regression/wonder week tripping you up. I KNOW babies are so frustrating – you do all the right things figuring that you’ll be rewarded for your hard work and then BOOM it’s like you didn’t do anything. The good news? It’s temporary 😛

      • Thanks Alexis for replying to quick. Come to think of it, it could be separation anxiety to some degree. Yesterday when I got back form work we played a little and then I put him in his crib with toys around (I am trying to break the association crib=sleep. I am doing it right?) and me in his sight. he played for a little while but then when he couldn’t see me anymore he started crying. I spoke to him and got close and he immediately smiled. I did the same thing a couple more times and the story repeated.
        To answer your questions, when I rock and put him down drowsy he starts screaming (sometimes with his eyes shut) and he won’t stop regardless of how much patting and sushing I am doing; I pick him up and put him back again…until he gives up and falls asleep for good. With my husband is even worse, because he cannot resist rocking him to sleep so i gave up on him doing the night routine (during the day we are both at work).
        The thing that I find strange is that it’s not consistent. Yesterday for his nap at 2pm he screamed bloody murder (my mom, who is looking after him told me), while last night he fell asleep completely alone and with no help from me. It really puzzles me…
        I already feel bad I had to go back to work and leave him so young. I hate to see him crying and I feel like I did smth wrong somewhere. I would gladly wear him and sleep with him in our bed, but that is just not feasible and I am trying to make him a happy baby in other ways. Does it make sense?

      • I read some of the other parents post n your advice to them. My soon-to-be 8 mths old daughter wouldn’t sleep on her own. She was waking up too many times at night, I lost count. We tried cio and for 3 nights we were successful but on the 4th night, she woke up 20 mins after she fell asleep and cried inconsolably. After 20 mins, my husband couldn’t take it anymore n picked her up. You might not believe this but my baby screamed in her sleep, followed by crying. We had a fright as we never heard of baby screaming in sleep. We picked her up and decided that we skip cio that night. The 2nd time she woke up, she cried whenever we put her back in her crib. After an hour, we decided to leave her on our bed and do nothing. Just let her fall asleep on her own even if she fusses.
        After about half an hour, she slept. I do this for her naps as well. I think she hates the crib now. Or is it separation anxiety? i am a stay home mom, can she have separation anxiety? What should I do?

        • May I ask what the outcome was here? This sounds very much like my granddaugher. She seems to use every ounce of her little strength to get her parents to take her out of the crib. Screaming, holding her breath, sobbing. multiple times (every 20 mins) per night. She has a serious heart condition so her parents are leary of letting her “cry it out”. She will lay in a big bed (spare room and at grandma’s house) by herself and sleep all night. Mom and dad currently co-sleep, but mama would like to not do that anymore. She is 16 mo old. Is she too little for “big” bed?

  9. My daughter is 4 months old. She has been a great sleeper at night for the past few months. Our routine is a bath every other night, followed by clean diaper, pjs, wiping her mouth out, and then reading a story and praying. After all that, she nurses for about 45 minutes, then off to her co-sleeper in our room. She has a noise machine and a night light in our room.

    So this is two parts:
    She is a horrible napper. If you lay her down during the day, she immediately wakes up. If she is held, she stays asleep.

    Part two, I want to move her to her room. I am certain this is the right time to move her. But she will not sleep in her crib. I am thinking of taking the co-sleeper into her room for a week or so.

    Any advice?

  10. My daughter just turned turned 8 months last week and for the last week or two it has been sooo hard getting her to sleep. But what I don’t understand is this is so sudden! She started sleeping 8 hrs through the night at 1 month old and worked her way up to 10-12 hrs within the next couple weeks. She would never wake once she was asleep and when we tried CIO she would cry for maybe a minute and then put herself to sleep. Like two weeks ago she started REFUSING to go to sleep so after about a week I gave in and let her sleep cuddled in my arms in my bed for naps and then at night my bf put her down for bed and she would go to sleep after like 5 minutes. I was thinking it was separation anxiety because I heard babies usually go through that around 8 months but I’m not sure and if it is I still don’t know what to do to help her sleep! She also used to let me put her in her crib with some toys in the morning and I would catch a few extra ZZZ’s but this morning I tried that and she cried like I had just smacked her in the face or something(She does that when I try to put her to sleep in the crib). So now I’m afraid maybe I taught her to hate her crib? I just don’t know what to do! Please help!

  11. Hi there! I have a 12 day old baby boy that refuses to be swaddled anymore. He was swaddled the first week of his life, now he just squirms out of it. He won’t lay in the crib. He could be sound asleep in the rock n play and then in my arms but it seems like the minute i set him down gently in his crib, he knows it! He wakes up 5 min later screaming. The werd thing is, is he can fall asleep in my bed flat on his back. And sleep for hours! Maybe the crib is too hard?? He likes an incline with the rock and play and my bed is a pillow top.

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  13. I have a quick question about moving my baby to the crib. He’s almost four months; about three or four weeks ago my swings motor died, and instead of buying another or paying for a replacement motor, I decided to see how he’d do in it motionless. The first two nights he woke up a little earlier for his nighttime feeding than usual, but after that back to normal. So after a week of sleeping great in the motionless swing (going down awake at night and naps), I decided to try the crib. He did ok for a few nights, not great but not terrible either, but then he figured out how to roll. So I can’t swaddle him anymore unless he’s in the swing(and swaddling has been a huge help for him); but the bigger issue is that he rolls to his tummy and gets stuck, then gets mad and cries and won’t sleep. Should I wait to try again til he has better control over his body and can roll both ways, or try to stick it out in the crib now?
    Btw, in case any of this is helpful, I have him back in the swing now. He goes to sleep on his own for bedtime and all naps almost all the time, only occasionally does he need help(jiggling the swing a bit). His first nap is usually 2/2.5 hrs, and then one or two more 1 hr naps. He consistently sleeps 8/9 hrs at night for his first stretch; wakes to eat then goes back easily and sleeps a total of ~12 hrs. I also give him a dreamfeed around 10:30/11pm. Thanks!

  14. Hi,

    Desperate mum needs some help here please. My 18 month old always drifted off to sleep in her rocking chair since she was three months old. For the last couple of months, we have been trying to put her to sleep in her chair and not rock. After lot of resistance this has finally worked. She now drifts off to sleep by herself but only in the chair. I am trying to get her to sleep directly in her cot but it’s proving to be a nightmare! She cries and cries without a break. Tried leaving her in the room, staying in the room… everything! She would much rather sleep either in the chair or on the extra bed we have in her room. She still wakes up in the night for milk. Can you please advice the best way in which I can get my lil one to get used to the bed. I’ll be ever so grateful. Thank you.

  15. Ok warning – long post ahead but I need help! I came across this discussion board as I’ve been Googling answers on how to transition my son to sleep in his own room in his crib. He’s 7 months old and slept in our room in his pack n play until about 6 months. We put him in his crib and he did great but after a few days, he got sick and I brought him back to our room. This last week, we decided to move him back again. For me, having him in another room has been very difficult. I like having him close. I expected this second time around with the crib to be ok because the first time was. And let me say, my son had been sleeping 8-10 hours a night since about 2 months old. For the last few nights, he starts waking up around 3 or 4 just crying. I’ll go in and get him back to sleep but then 20 or 30 minutes later, he’s doing it again. The other night, it happened 4 times until I eventually put him in bed with us and the night after it was twice before I caved. I mean, I’ve GOT TO SLEEP! He hardly sleeps during the day so I know he needs the sleep at night. I’m just not sure what to do and I’m pretty sure putting him in bed with us isn’t the answer but you know, the brain isn’t thinking logically at 4 in the morning! And when I do, he’s asleep within a minute and sleeps SOLID until about 10. Now tonight is what has brought me to this discussion. Starting at 2:30 AM, he started screaming like he has been and NOTHING helped. I kept him in his crib, touching him, rubbing his belly, shushing, he would get a little quieter but still cry. I tried picking him up and rocking. He fell asleep both times I tried but woke up within a minute of putting him down. He would scream harder once I left the room. My husband tried too. This went on for almost 2 hours, never stopping. I had reached the point of feeling helpless and was telling my husband that I was thinking about just getting him and putting him in bed with is again because that’s what he wants – to be close to us. Then I had an idea. I grabbed a pillow and laid it next to him in the crib. Almost IMMEDIATELY he calmed down and started falling asleep. Within 2 minutes, he was out. To be honest, I’m nervous about this since you hear such horror stories. But I have a monitor that detects if breathing stops so that helps. He’s been sleeping solid for 30 min now. I’ll probably go try to take this pillow out soon but am I doing the wrong thing here? It just amazed me at how much it seemed to comfort him!

  16. So how do you transition from a Rock n Play to the crib? I read how to from the swing, but we use the RnP for everything and he’s 4 months now (in the middle of a regression!!), but I’d like to transition him around 5 months to the crib for naps and night time sleep. I tried once to put him in the crib, he was asleep (I figured it would be easiest) and he woke on the transfer and was fine for 10 minutes. Then he started fussing so I did the pick up method and he was ok, so I put him back down and left and then he screamed bloody murder and I couldn’t put him down for 15 min afterwards. If I had put him in the RnP he does fine, I can put him down drowsy (I do the move his head method so he’s slightly awake when I put him down) and he rocks himself back (we have wood floors), I just can’t figure how to transition to the crib without issues. We tried putting him in the crib/bassinet when he was born, but even swaddled he HATED lying flat. Now he’s cool hanging out in the crib/Pack n Play to play for a bit on his own on his back (he wouldn’t let us put him down flat even awake to get a bottle when he was an infant), but won’t seem to sleep on his back. He doesn’t have reflux (that we know of), I just want to know how to do the transition without to much issue. He does sleep in his own room and has since he was 3 weeks, we have a white noise machine. Right now he usually will do 45-1 hour naps 3-4 times a day and before the regression slept about 9 hours at night before needing to feed and then gave me another 3-4 hours.

    • Hi there,
      Not sure if you’ll see this given how much time has passed, but just wondering if you ever got an answer on this, and more importantly, how the transition from rock n play to crib ended up going for you? We are in the EXACT same situation with our 4-month old.

      Thanks!
      Megan

      • I never got an answer, but it ended up going fairly well. To give you some background at the time my son was about 5 months and rolling over and trying to sit up in the RnP so we had to get him out of it. His main issue was laying flat which is how he ended up in the RnP to begin with and since we had to force the transition and he would wake up if we tried to put him in the crib asleep, we also had to get him to put himself to sleep at the same time so we had some difficulty because he had 2 things he was forced to learn . We also have hardwood floors so with every moment he could rock himself, he was also having to learn to sleep without movement too (though that was less needed then the incline).

        First I put a rolled up towel underneath his crib so he wasn’t flat. I can’t handle much crying and he hated Ferber checks so after his bedtime routine we put him in it and let him cry for 15 min (what I could handle). The first night was awful and he ended up back in his RnP, but after that he did fine and generally put himself to sleep in the crib. He had 2 feedings at that time and so after each feeding I tried to put him in crib and if it wasn’t going well he went back to the RnP (I believe in a slow transition, also because I like to sleep!). It took about 3 weeks before he transitioned fully to the crib, but it wasn’t bad because I think letting him decide where he was comfortable sleeping at the time made it easier. I think once he was fully sleeping in the crib for a week or so I took out the incline and he’s been fine ever since. So I think work with what you think your child needs (a slow transition or a forced one) and it doesn’t have to be a terrible transition. Good luck!! Even having the transition, I still by the RnP’s and wouldn’t have done it any other way.

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  18. So my 7 month old is a champion in the swing. It is motionless and he will put himself to sleep there and sleep for 10 hours before waking up for a morning feed, then back in for a couple more hours, love! Unfortunately he hates his crib. The swing is next to the crib, we kept it there for a month before moving him over, but he hates his crib. Even got the guardian sleeper, which is awesome even if he hates his crib because it gives me peace of mind and keeps him warm. But he wakes every hour in the crib, cries when I put him down, hates it. I really don’t want to do CIO especially when he did so well with putting himself to sleep with this swing. How do I get him into that crib? Help! Ps, read all about swing to crib transition, did it, didn’t work.

  19. My son will be 4 months old tomorrow and has been sleeping through the night for a couple of weeks in his rock and play. He is a good sleeper and can soothe himself to sleep – I always put him down awake and he falls right asleep wherever we are ( aloud room, a quiet room, my mom’s house, the swing, his mat, etc.

    However, I have decided to transition him to his crib and it has been a nightmare. I do our bedtime routine, bath, bottle, books and lay him down. He will get himself to sleep for about a half hour and then wakes up crying. I go in – pat his stomach, try to soothe him, and walk out. He will just continue this crying and pattern all night until I pick him up where he then falls asleep in my arms – if I try to lay him flat again, he cries.
    How can I go about transitioning him to the crib? DO I just let him cry it out or keep him in his RNP until he is ready for the crib? I have also started having him try and take naps in the crib, which he has done, but they are like an hour the most.

  20. My daughter is 6 weeks old she will go in her crib sometimes but for some reason she will not go in there after her dinner feeding and after her 10pm feeding. All she does is cry. But if I let her sleep in her mamaroo she will sleep 6-7 hours. I just don’t want her to get used to it and I don’t understand why it’s only a couple times a day she won’t go in there. Any suggestions? ?

  21. Thankfully I had a successful transition, when I moved my baby boy to his crib. I figured he needed to feel safe in there, so I put him in his zipadee-zip, which made him feel very cozy. I also made sure to have the right temperature in the room, as well as some lavender essential oil going on the diffuser and some soothing music. His room felt so peaceful, I wanted to sleep in there too!

  22. It really feels like the crib, though. With our almost 5 month old, who had been doing just okay (still waking 2-3 times a night to eat, breastfed, but went back to sleep easily), last week he somehow decided that as opposed to a healthy dislike, he just can’t stand the crib. At this point, it takes about an hour to an hour and a half of soothing, for what is if we are lucky a hour and a half of sleep, at which point he wakes up and remembers he’s in the crib and loathes it and the screaming begins anew. And he keeps getting the tantrum earlier in the process. At first it was just putting him in the crib, but he’s worked back to the rocking chair beside the crib I soothe him in and now backwards from that to the room and from that to any darkened room or bathroom fan (our white noise).

    I don’t know if this is sleep regression or teething or reflux but as much as I didn’t want to do cry it out (and mommy REALLY doesn’t want to) it really seems like we will have to go that way. In fact, we are already kind of there, as there’s a mini tantrum just on entering the room.

    Incidentally, this is the room we also sleep in (we moved our bed into his room once he outgrew the basinet).

  23. Hello

    Without realizing it, we have made our 10 1/2 month old dependent upon motion to fall asleep. He is getting worse and worse and naps are a battle with him anymore. What are the best ways to start rectifying this situation asap???

  24. In our particular situation, I really think it is the crib!
    Our 4 month old was doing pretty well, falling asleep quickly and waking once or twice for a bottle. We spent a weekend at the beach where he slept in a pack and play. When we were back home, he would not soothe to sleep. After waking several times that night yelling, we decided to CIO. Our project to have him CIO went from bad to worse so that 1 week later we were worse off than we started. Indesparation, I opened the pack and play and placed it next to the crib. He self-soothed to sleep and slept all night!
    If you truly believe it’s not the crib, and that there may be a remedy to this, I would be so very grateful! Otherwise, pack and play it is!
    Thank you.

  25. Starting at 4 months we began sleep training and had a hard time until 5 mos when we finally got the help of an overnight postpartum doula who worked with our sleep consultant. For the last month he has been doing great – going to bed at 7:45/8, and then waking around 3 or later for a nursing and then sleeping until 7 or 7:30am. For night sleep and naps he would go into his crib awake and aware, and put himself to sleep.

    End of last week he was teething (he’s 6mos) and we had some disruptions. Then we went to grandparents for niece’s 1st bday party. Both bottom teeth have broken through but he is still screaming at night and when going down for naps. We have had to revert to nursing or rocking to sleep.

    We have tried doing the intervals we learned with the sleep training but it is just upsetting him more. Is it possible he has hit some stage where he knows if he cries long and hard enough we will come to him (after an hour and a half of intervals we capitulated and nursed him last night around 1am since he had been up so long in the middle of the night). Would love some thoughts on this.
    Thank you!

  26. Hi Alexis,
    I love this site and read it so often. Your brand of humor is so awesome. My 13 month old (as of today) is at the end of week 3 of sleep training and within the past week he cries for a couple min and is asleep by about 7 min. Success!! I followed your advice and it is working!
    My baby is considered high needs by the pediatrician. We have gone through terrible reflux and food sensitivity issues until just last month. He was failure to thrive and always crying. I was so worried about him I couldn’t sleep train him. He has would always sleep in a bassinet beside me and for naps in a sling. When he turned 12 months, he finally was on the growth chart! Yay!! We still have tummy issues with food sensitivity but are doing better, we’re both on a strict diet. Anyhow, I started giving him naps on the rocking chair and stopped the sling, victory! Yay! Then I started sleep training a week later. After I started sleep training he continued to nap in the rocking chair, but all I was getting were short crappy naps and a tired child. So, he has been fussier and I decided to nurse him for naps to help the sleep training along and if did. His naps are usually 1 hour to 1 hr 15 min each and that’s when his sleep at night went to only a couple min of crying. Now, this is where I need advice. How do I sleep train him for naps? He has never been in his crib for naps. I thought the rocking chair would be the transition but he hates rocking now, he gets very upset. I am afraid tinkering with his naps will affect his night sleep progress we have, but my poor 6 year old is downstairs by herself for his naps. I need a change and want to be successful. You seem to have the super power! What would you do?
    Many thsnks!! Looking forward to your advice!
    Kim

  27. Hi Alexis,

    My 14 week old son sleeps in the Rock n play at night and has taken morning naps in his crib since he was two weeks to the tune of 2 hours in length (most of the time). So the kid doesn’t hate the crib/flat surfaces and has demonstrated his ability to sleep well in it. A few weeks ago, we tried transitioning to the crib at night as well. Long story short, it went disastrously and we threw in the towel after two nights. He didn’t even sleep in it a little bit. Obviously he has strong associations with it being for morning nap only!

    Do you have any suggestions for getting him into the crib for night time?

    Thank you!

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