Help! My baby hates the crib!
Are you convinced your baby hates the crib and will never, ever sleep there?
So were most of my clients before we started working together.
A LOT of babies HATE the crib and for good reason, they have absolutely NO idea what they’re supposed to do in there.
They Aren’t Used To It
I’ve found over the years that babies fall into two categories when it comes to their cribs and we’ll talk about both today.
Your baby used to sleep great in the crib and then something suddenly changed and they decided they wanted to sleep with you.
Babies can be hard to figure out! Just when they’re sleeping great in their crib, they have a terrible time going to bed or some short or non-existent naps and rather than be consistent and stick to the “routine” of keeping them in their crib, we make changes to try to “help” our babies sleep.
Then, when you try to go back to the crib, baby isn’t having any part of it. You’ve created a new normal and all they want is that.
You’ve tried many times to put your baby into the crib with disastrous results where baby screams and cries and eventually you give in and go back to sleeping with your baby to avoid any more upset.
If your baby has spent very little time in a crib, they just don’t know what to do once they’re in there. Most parents rock or bounce their baby to sleep or almost to sleep and then put them into the crib hoping baby will just peacefully sleep.
NOPE, these two scenarios end in one of two ways. Baby 1, immediately starts screaming or 2, wakes up 30 minutes later and is pretty grumpy about a short, not restful nap.
Falling asleep is a journey and babies need to learn to do the entire journey from awake to asleep on their own. If your baby is over 3 months old, then putting them down asleep or “drowsy, but awake” will fail. Every. Single. Time.
It’s Not The Mattress Or The Crib Or…
Your crib mattress is just fine. Your sheets are soft enough. Your baby isn’t scared of the dark or afraid to be alone, or any other reason you can think of for why your baby doesn’t like the crib.
We always want a reason that our children aren’t sleeping and we can come up with some strange ones!
I had the parents of a 3-month-old boy tell me that he had such bad nightmares that he simply couldn’t sleep unless he was held. He hated his crib and had never slept in it even once. Guess what? In a few short weeks, this baby was sleeping like a champ, in his crib, with NO nightmares! Amazing!
They Don’t Know How To Sleep
The reason your baby doesn’t like the crib is that they don’t know how to sleep there.
Humans, even tiny humans, are very protective of their sleep environment.
So, if all they know is sleeping with you or on you, and you suddenly want them to sleep in their crib with no tears it’s not going to happen.
Many parents resort to motion sleep in a swing, stroller, or car for babies of all ages.
It’s important to understand that “motion sleep” absolutely “helps” a baby sleep but it doesn’t require sleep skills so although your baby is getting sleep, they aren’t learning HOW to sleep. And, sleep is a skill, just like swimming!
A baby that constantly sleeps in motion will always be dependent on that motion and will find it difficult to sleep any other way and have trouble connecting sleep cycles.
With a clear, consistent sleep plan ANY and I mean ANY baby can learn to love sleeping in their crib. Like, trying to climb out of your arms and into their crib at naptime.
How Can You Teach Your Baby To Love The Crib?
I customize my client’s sleep plan specifically for their baby’s temperament and their parenting style.
I'm a firm believer that there’s not just one way to teach a baby to love his or her crib, there’s a way that will work for YOUR family.
When you have a clear, consistent plan and someone cheering you on, answering any question you have about your child’s sleep and keeping you on track. It’s a win-win situation.
Your child will learn to love the crib with minimal upset, and you’ll see amazing results in a few short days.
If your baby is under 3 months and struggling to fall asleep in their crib, picking them up and walking them around until they’re calmer before trying again in the crib can be helpful.
If your baby is over 3 months old, picking up and putting down becomes less effective but, there are a lot of other ways we can teach you to support your baby as they learn to sleep in their crib.
Actually teaching your child to sleep will teach them to love their crib. Like with anything we teach our children you need to be consistent, be patient, and know that it’s possible.
Making sure your baby has enough awake time is crucial to their successful crib sleep. Sleep pressure is what builds during your baby’s awake time. If they have insufficient sleep pressure, falling asleep will be exponentially more difficult for them.
If you’re confused about your baby’s sleep, you’re NOT alone.
Infant sleep is complicated! There are SO many moving parts and pieces that need to align so your baby will sleep well.
That’s what I do! I teach you about the different parts and pieces of your child’s sleep. Then, we explain exactly how and what to do to teach them to sleep well, and support you every step of the way.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling with your baby’s sleep.
I offer a complimentary sleep evaluation so that you can share your specific sleep struggles and we can explain how we can help.
Here’s to a well-rested family,