Kristy provides support for pregnant and laboring mothers and for transitioning families after the birth of their baby.See all posts »
Three days ago we started the transition of moving our baby from the AMBY baby hammock to the crib. We didn't move our first two boys into the crib until they were 7 months old. We felt it was important to have them close to us. When it was time to relocate them they were crawling, able to roll over and back again, sit up and remove blankets off themselves.
Our present baby just turned 5 months old. He had begun rolling over 2 weeks ago. Every time we put him down he twists and rolls. This new trick prompts squeals and giggles but ultimately it gets to be frustrating for him because he can’t roll himself back over yet. He is also quite big and while his chunky physique is adorable, it started to seem as if he was a bit uncomfortable in the close quarters of the hammock. These two factors made us a little nervous. Erring on the side of caution, we decided to put the crib up in our room in place of the hammock.
For a baby who loves to be swaddled and is used to being “held” in a bed like the AMBY and rocked gently back to sleep by the bounce of the its spring, this may be an arduous process. I must admit the hammock was so easy and I’m not sure I’m ready to let go of that. He slept for long stretches early on, never had issues with colick and was easy to lull back to sleep when he would awake. The crib has much more space, is flat, there is no device for bouncing or rocking him back to sleep and there is no padding of sorts for him to nestle into. Of course some of those things make it safe now that he is mobile, but try telling a 5 month old baby that that should appeal to him. Change can be a hard thing.
I spent half of the first night that we put our baby in the crib, rolling him onto his back from his belly and monitoring him as he fussed. I was exhausted. He’d roll over and get so frustrated on his belly that his fussing would turn to crying. Yet, he kept rolling back to his belly. My husband kept reminding me that the baby knows how to turn his head. This reassurance came noticeably from the one who worried intensely that if the baby were to roll over while swaddled, he could possibly suffocate. So, no more swaddling and a little more trusting.
What I learned with my first two boys is that they got used to the crib by starting naps in it. I would also put them in the crib for a little during the day while I folded laundry or worked on a project where they could see me. Occasionally I’d have them in the crib with a couple of safe toys to play with while I got dinner started. Initially I kept the monitor on just to make sure if they rolled over and got too fussy I would know to go in promptly and help soothe them or engage them in play for a little longer.
While this time may seem challenging, it’s important to remember that it is temporary. The more patience and nurturance we give to the baby and this transition, the more secure, loved, calm and happy both parent and baby will be. Put this together with a consistent bedtime and soothing rituals and we’ll end up with better sleep too.
If your baby is cramped for space in current his or her “bed”, rolling over, sitting up or crawling, then it may be time to transition your baby from the bassinet of choice or from co-sleeping to their crib. It may be unsafe for your baby to stay in his or her present sleeping arrangements. Each baby grows and meets their milestones at different times. Trust that you know when the time is right or ask your pediatrician for guidance.