Moving your baby from a crib to a "big kid" bed can be a challenge. After months of sleep training and your baby learning to enjoy their crib, it almost seems counter-intuitive to mess all that up and transition then to another sleep space. So is you're asking yourself, "When can you move your baby from a crib?" know that you're not alone and, in fact, on the right track. After all, and especially when it comes to parenting, there's no such thing as a dumb question. (Except asking a new parent, "Do you want to sleep in?" because the answer is obvious, dude.)
Turns out, when it comes to saying goodbye to your baby's crib, the "right time" depends on a few key factors. Some babies have been in a bedside bassinet and have never slept in a crib, which would change how the baby's parent approaches this new milestone. Others are in a crib from the first night home, so it might feel overwhelming to think of the day they're ready to move into a bigger sleep space. Either way, there are recommendations to consider when you're trying to figure out the best sleeping space for your little.
First and foremost, you should consider both the age of your baby and where they're at developmentally. It might be an easy answer if you have a sneaky baby trying climb in, or out of, the crib at all hours of the night, but what if you have a baby not so interested in ever leaving the comforts of the guarded rails? Parents says the biggest concern among worried parents is safety, and understandably so.
They go on to add that a lot of babies might get curious when they're around 18 and 24 months of age and, essentially, tall enough and adventurous enough to give the old climb-out-of-the-crib a try. While some kids never do, safety is of utmost importance so if you notice your baby doing any of these things, it might time to think of moving them to a bigger, safer sleep space.
Preeti Parikh, MD, board-certified pediatrician, assistant clinical professor in the pediatrics department at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) fellow and spokeswoman, says putting baby in his or her own room around the age of 6 months may be beneficial in helping both you and baby sleep better through the night. Again, it depends on your baby's sleep patterns and night wakings. It's really dependent on your baby's tendencies and where they're at through the growth process, both emotionally, and physically.
Dr. William Sears, pediatrician and the author or co-author of more than 30 parenting books, claims if you're already wondering when it might be time to make the transition, to start early. He advises continuing the usual bedtime routine to calm your reluctant baby's worries and to stay in the room for awhile (fading your time in there gradually), while they're getting used to the new sleep space.
No matter when you choose to forgo the crib, read your baby and his or her cues. Safety is the most important issue, and once safety is established, ensuring everyone gets a good night of sleep. If you try to move your little one to a "big kid" bed and your baby doesn't seem to be ready, rest assured — they can't sleep in a crib forever.