Finally your adorable baby is asleep after long moments of crying and long hours of playtime. You can also finally rest and catch up on your own sleep. But there’s just this one problem: your little angel is in your arms. You can’t free up your hands to do something else (e.g. taking a shower, preparing the dinner or just catch a nap).
Here let’s discuss how to transfer a sleeping baby from your arms to the crib (and do it properly and gently):
Turn on the white noise and prevent making a distracting sound. That sounds conflicting but here’s the thing, the white noise will mask the background sounds and most of the sounds you’ll be making while transferring your baby into the crib. Note that as you move the baby rustling sounds are inevitable (e.g. friction between the fabric of your shirts). But with the white noise (if the baby is already used to it) the rustling sound won’t be too noticeable.
Slightly distance yourself to remove the warmth. What does this mean? Keep in mind that when your baby is in your arms he or she feels the warmth from you. What happens then if you transfer your baby to the crib is he/she will immediately feel cold. To smoothen out the transition it’s good to hold her out in your hands (distance your baby a bit from yourself) so he/she can slowly adjust to the temperature in his/her room.
Take it slowly and make the transition smooth. Many parents make the mistake of immediately putting down their babies into the crib once they reach the area. The result is often the babies wake up (and the parents are back to zero in bringing the baby back to sleep). To avoid this mistake, it’s good to slow it down by letting moments pass by for your baby to get used to the lighting and smell of the area where the crib is located.
Test it and make sure your baby’s in deep sleep (the baby is not in the crib yet). Many parents do the “arm test” by carefully lifting their babies’ arms a bit and then letting it drop down. If it falls naturally and fast, it’s a good sign he/she is already asleep. But if the arm stiffens, well you’re not done with your job yet and do another round of rocking and shushing (perhaps at least 10 minutes).
Hold your baby over the side of the crib. This is still about slowing down and making the transition smoother. Just lift your baby over the crib’s side and hold him/her there (it’s like allowing your baby to flow over the crib mattress). Count to 10 or 15 seconds and if he/she doesn’t wake up, you can then slowly lower your baby toward the mattress.
Move so slowly and gently as you lower your baby toward the mattress. You’re almost there so don’t mess it up. You have to focus here because one quick and distracting movement can make you go back to zero. At first your movements might seem like a robot but if you focus enough and get used to it, your movements will become more fluid and gentle.
Slowly pull away your fingers from beneath your sleeping baby. Whew finally your hands have reached the mattress and you’re one step closer to freeing yourself. But do it really gently and slowly as you pull away your fingers.
Time to go. Congratulate yourself for a job well done and it’s now time to do something else. Perhaps wash the dishes, prepare the dinner or catch a nap (it’s important that you get more sleep as much as possible, sleep deprivation is not good).
Bonus tip. Have someone to help you. If you’re doing everything by yourself, there will always be a tendency to rush (and hence it will be harder to make your baby fall asleep or gently transfer him/her to the crib). By having someone to assist you and take care of your other tasks, the job will be a lot easier and your baby can actually get longer and uninterruptible sleep.