What do you do when your baby or toddler won’t sleep in the crib?

Many of us have been there, mama. Don’t despair! Grab yourself a steaming cup of your favorite drink, pull up a chair, and read these tips for getting baby to sleep in the crib. We will figure this out! Just know you’re doing an amazing job.

When Your Baby Won't Sleep in the Crib

When Your Baby Won’t Sleep In The Crib: Consistency Is Key

Maybe your baby wants to sleep in your arms or has gotten used to being rocked or strolled to sleep. What do you do? Create their new normal and stay committed to it.

  • Stick to one method of helping your child. Many times we are trying everything because we just want to fix it A.S.A.P, so there is no consistency, and the child doesn’t know what to expect. Remember that a habit takes 3 days to break, so don’t give up!
  • It can take several days, but eventually, they will realize you are sticking to it. Keep naptime and bedtime consistent.  We have a 1:00 naptime and 7:00 bedtime at our house.
  • Watch for tired clues. Many kids will struggle to fall asleep when they are overly tired. If you think your baby is crying a lot at bedtime, or taking too long to fall asleep, move their sleep time up by an hour. This works great for toddlers and preschoolers, too.  (Even older kids!)
  • Evaluate the child’s diet, and make sure they are not eating too much sugar or sweets, as that can interfere with rest.
When Your Baby Won't Sleep In The Crib

When Your Baby Won’t Sleep In The Crib: Routines Are Life

Children thrive with routine and structure in their lives. They need it to feel safe, and the good news is that it will help you, too!

  • Be sure to always have a routine.  Just moving through the same routine every day can offer comfort and remind them of what is going to happen.
  • “When I want my baby to have a fun day, I just my baby all of those fun games, songs & baby things!” – simple advice that makes a huge difference.   You can help your baby feel safe (and tired) by doing these baby learning activities.  The best part is that they are proven to help your child learn, grow, and bond with you.  Those things will improve their lives from infancy through adulthood.
  • Read a book like Goodnight Moon (it actually gets darker on each page to slowly lull your baby to sleep!). This will help them become tired and ready for rest, plus it’s the best part of your new sleep routine, I promise!
  • Toddlers go through transitions with naps, and as they do this, you have to adjust their naptime. If naptime is a struggle, consider playing around with the time to help, moving it up or back by an hour.
  • Start by moving your baby to a crib at naptime, instead of jumping right into bedtime for the crib. Naptime is a great time to use the crib and will ease your baby into the new routine.
  • Start laying your little guy down at the same time every day, and limit naptime to an hour, so that it doesn’t push their bedtime off.
  • Make sure they have a special blanket or animal with them. These can provide extra comfort.
  • Bonus points if said blanket or animal smells like Mom or Dad (make sure that it’s safely placed and not where it can harm baby, and that baby is old enough). Sometimes having a piece of the two people baby loves most is all the soothing that’s needed for them to fall asleep!
When Your Baby Won't Sleep In The Crib

When Your Baby Won’t Sleep In The Crib: Try To Stay Patient, Mama

Think of how long lifestyle changes take adults to get used to… It might take baby some time to sleep in the crib, but this too shall pass. Stay strong, and make sure you are taking care of yourself so that you can give baby the best version of you!

  • Sleep on the floor for the first few days (or stay there until the baby falls asleep). It can help the baby feel secure to know that you are not leaving. Eventually move closer to the door until, by the end of the week, you are in your own room. *Make sure you follow this progression of weaning baby from this so that sleeping on the floor doesn’t become your new normal!
  • Make sure you are taking care of yourself properly. Babies are amazing, and it’s a beautiful, fleeting stage, but it can be exhausting. If you’re not getting enough sleep, eating well, and just taking care of yourself in general, it’s harder to be patient. See if someone can step in to give you breaks. If that’s not a possibility, try to find even five minutes here and there to do something that makes you happy.
  • Vent to other mamas, your significant other, or journal. Motherhood is as hard as it is amazing, and it helps to talk about your feelings and frustrations.
  • Talk to an older member of your family, or an older family friend, who has been in the trenches of getting an infant on a sleep routine. I was lucky to have my Mom, Stepmom, and Grandma on speed dial. I looked to their wisdom and guidance a lot during the first couple of years of my daughter’s life. I know they enjoyed being involved and feel needed, too!
When Your Baby Won't Sleep In The Crib

When Your Baby Won’t Sleep In The Crib: Amazon Might Become Your Bestie

I spent so many sleepless nights shopping online when I had a newborn. Here are some ideas that will combine retail therapy with therapeutic ideas that might actually help get baby to sleep in the crib!

This post contains affiliate links.

  • Try room darkening curtains for the bedroom. These can help eliminate light shining through and are helpful especially if your child is not napping well. It also lets your baby know, “When these curtains are drawn, it’s bedtime,” and can become a part of your naptime and bedtime routine.
  • Sound machines are a basic favorite of many parents to use. The sound comforts the child and tunes out other noises. I used this sound machine for my daughter when she was a baby. She loved the heartbeat and rain settings the best. Heartbeats really do soothe babies, because it reminds them of their “time on the inside”.  You could try a fan, too!
  • If sound machines are not a favorite, you can always try soft music playing. I also used a lullaby CD for three years, and it was like magic! You could also easily put together a playlist on your phone, just make sure you set it on do not disturb, first!

Check Out These Other Ideas And Activities For Baby!

What advice can you give about getting a baby to sleep in their crib?  

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1 Comment

  1. Great tips Becky,

    Same evening routine with a bath before bed, soft background music worked for us from day one. But now when he’s a little older some evening he just doesn’t want to go to bed. I’m guessing he’s over tired so will try your tip to move a bedtime by an hour and will see if that helps. Thanks again.

    All the best,