I frequently hear my client’s state during consultations that their child “hates their crib.” This is a common issue for families who are embarking on a sleep training journey and have had difficulty putting their baby down to sleep in the crib. Not using the crib typically leads to a slew of other negative sleep associations that tend to prevent anyone in the family from getting a good night’s sleep. Not to fear! Crib sleep is attainable and is a great first step in helping your baby to learn to sleep through the night.
Usually babies have a hard time in the crib because they are overtired, aren’t used to that sleep environment and are dependent on sleep crutches and have formed negative sleep associations as a result of those crutches. They are used to sleeping in your arms, in their swing, stroller, carrier or basically anywhere but their crib. While those are all fine to use when they are under 3-4 months of age, once they become more cognitively developed, their sleep will become fragmented and will not be restorative.
The easiest way to start using the crib is to do just that; start using it. Make sure you follow the safety guidelines as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and that you are following an appropriate schedule. An overtired baby will have trouble sleeping in general so make sure you are providing them with the most biologically beneficial schedule possible. If you think your child has become dependent on sleep crutches, reach out to us for guidance in slowly weaning them off those crutches.
Aside from that, arm yourself with a sleep training method you feel comfortable implementing, put them down drowsy but awake for all sleep and you will be well on your way to having a great sleeper!