Sleep Transition: From Rocker to Crib
Heather L. Zimmerman, M.D., Boys Town Pediatrics
Most parents pick to have their baby sleep right in the room with them from the time that they come home as a newborn through the first several months of life. Part of the reason for doing that is to have a new baby and you are still getting used to the sounds that they make. You can figure out what their sleep patterns are. The other thing is just practical. They eat so often at first that it is just easier if they are close by.
Now most babies are sleeping a pretty long stretch, somewhere between three and six months of age and by that point they don't truly need to be, if they are not waking you up frequently to eat, you can move them anytime into the crib in their own bedroom. Now one thing that may help with that transition is if you are already using the crib in their own room for napping during the day, on weekends if they are home or during the day if they are home all the time so that they are already spending some time in that different sleep environment. It does tend to feel different because it doesn't have any close walls the way a little bassinet or a cradle may have had.
The nice thing is though it gives them more room to move. By the time a baby is three to four months old, they do a lot of kind of scooting and squirming and so even if they aren't rolling you may often find them, like when they are in an open crib, you put them in one spot and they are totally like down at the other end, turned sideways by the time you go and check in on them again and that's just normal movement during sleep.
By the time a baby is six months old they should probably be in their own crib, in their own room sleeping through the night. I like to tell parents that babies over six months old truly don't need to eat in the middle of the night to grow and it is an important part of their developmental transition to really focus on sleep independence by that age they should be able to fall asleep on their own at bedtime and sleep through the night and you're back with them in the morning.