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How to Help Your Child "Hate" The Crib Less

general infant naps Sep 20, 2023

It's a scene that plays out in countless homes with a baby: you lovingly prepare the crib, nestling it with soft sheets and fluffy toys, envisioning those precious moments when your little one will sleep soundly within its cozy confines. But when bedtime rolls around, your baby protests with all their tiny might, as if they've declared an all-out war against that crib. The result? Sleepless nights and endless worry

The truth is, your baby doesn't hate the crib. They don't possess the capacity to harbor such feelings. Instead, they may not associate it with sleep, comfort, or safety, making bedtime a battleground. But fear not, because there are ways to change this narrative.

Understanding the Crib Conundrum

Before we delve into the solutions, let's address why some babies resist the crib. Babies are creatures of habit and association. Over time, they've come to associate certain places, people, or routines with sleep. When your baby nods off in your arms or on your bed, they find comfort and security there. The crib, on the other hand, often represents separation from you, which can be unsettling.

5 Gentle Ways to Make Friends with the Crib

1. Create Positive Associations

Turn the bedroom into a delightful place. Spend happy, awake moments in it. Play games, do diaper changes, read stories, or simply cuddle. Let your baby associate their crib with love and joy.. Place some of their favorite toys and familiar objects in the bedroom to create a familiar, reassuring environment (as long as it's age appropriate). By doing so, baby will begin to associate the bedroom not just with sleep but with a reassuring and familiar space, as well. 

2. Gradual Sleep Transitions

If your baby is used to falling asleep in your arms or elsewhere, consider a gradual transition. Start with a bedtime routine that includes the crib as a key element. After a lullaby or bedtime story, place your drowsy baby in the crib while still awake. Stay with them and offer gentle reassurance. This helps them adjust to the new sleep environment gradually.

3. Sound Associations

Babies are highly sensitive to sounds and certain sounds really do help facilitate better sleep. You can a brown setting on your sound machine to create a sleep-conducive atmosphere.

4. Familiar Bedding and Sleepwear

Ensure that the crib bedding and sleepwear are familiar and comfortable. Familiarity can be soothing. Keep these items consistent with what your baby associates with sleep, such as a consistent sleep sack that your baby wears. Be sure to dress baby in comfortable layers appropriate for room temperature, and crib space is free of bumpers, toys, or stuffed animals. 

5. Stay Connected

Sometimes, babies resist the crib because they feel disconnected from you. Consider following an approach to encourage crib sleeping that includes laying your baby down in the crib, staying near to reassure with your presence, and then over time begin to fade yourself away. This way, your baby can still feel your presence while having their own sleep space.

The Evidence-Based Approach

Our approach to crib sleep is rooted in scientific research and a holistic understanding of your baby's needs. Research published in the Journal of Sleep Research suggests that creating positive sleep associations can help babies sleep better and longer.

Moreover, a study in Pediatrics highlights the importance of gradual transitions in sleep routines. It's not about forcing your baby into the crib but gently guiding them toward independent sleep.

Join Our Free Webinar: Unlocking the Secrets of Baby Sleep

We understand that every family's journey is unique, and we're here to support you. If you're struggling with crib sleep or other sleep-related challenges, we invite you to join our free webinar, "How to Help Your Child Sleep 10+ Hours in 3 Days," where we'll delve deeper into evidence-based strategies to improve your baby's sleep.

Our mission is to empower parents with knowledge and gentle, responsive sleep solutions that nurture the parent-child bond. Together, we can make peace with the crib, one bedtime at a time.

Don't let crib resistance be a source of stress. Embrace these gentle strategies, and watch your baby learn to love their crib as a haven for peaceful, restful slumber.

These references support the evidence-based strategies and recommendations provided in the blog for helping babies become comfortable with their cribs and promoting better sleep.

  1. Gradisar, M., Jackson, K., Spurrier, N. J., Gibson, J., Whitham, J., Williams, A. S., & Dolby, R. (2016). Behavioral interventions for infant sleep problems: A randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics, 137(6), e20151486.

  2. Mindell, J. A., Telofski, L. S., Weigand, B., & Kurtz, E. S. (2009). A nightly bedtime routine: Impact on sleep in young children and maternal mood. Sleep, 32(5), 599–606.

  3. Adams, L. A., Rickert, V. I., & Reducing SIDS Risk in Child Care and Changing Staff Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices (2003). Pediatric nursing, 29(3), 188.

  4. Mindell, J. A., & Owens, J. A. (2015). A Clinical Guide to Pediatric Sleep: Diagnosis and Management of Sleep Problems (3rd ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

  5. Sadeh, A., Tikotzky, L., & Scher, A. (2010). Parenting and infant sleep. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 14(2), 89–96.

  6. Anders, T. F., Halpern, L. F., & Hua, J. (1992). Sleeping through the night: A developmental perspective. Pediatrics, 90(4), 554-560.


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