Taking the Next Step: How to Transition Baby to Crib from Rock N Play Sleeper

How to Transition Baby to Crib from Rock N Play

With the Rock N Play Sleeper coming under fire to blame for several infant deaths, many parents are making the switch from to the crib. Now that it is time to make that transition, many parents are wondering what is the best way to make this transition and how long will it take? Below are the best steps to take on how to transition baby to crib from Rock N Play sleeper that should help you make the transition in 5-7 days.

How to Transition Baby to Crib from Rock N Play – Set the Nursery

If the baby’s Rock N Play is currently in your bedroom, you will need to move it to the nursery or wherever the crib is located. Let the baby start by sleeping in this room during their naps so that they can get familiar with the sounds and scenery.

Swaddle Time for Newborns

During the transition, it is very important for your baby to remain swaddles so that they can get the sleep they need safely and securely if they are a newborn. Swaddling gives them a feeling of security, allowing them to relax in the same manner that the Rock N Play gave them.

How to Transition Baby to Crib from Rock N Play
Swaddling gives your baby a sense of security at an early age

If your baby is closer to that three-month mark, they are getting close to outgrowing swaddling and will begin breaking out of it with their arms. You should consider getting a baby sleeper suit where they are warm and protected while having the flexibility to move their limbs while they sleep and play. I found that this gives them an easier transition as they start getting older.

Bring on the Naps

Before you attempt to transition your baby to the crib for the first time, take advantage of naps. Your baby will not begin sleeping for long periods of time in the crib because it is a new feeling, and they will need to adjust. Use the crib for daytime naps so that they can get adjusted to the feeling of the crib. Once the naps become longer in the crib, you will know that they are properly adjusting. Depending on the age of your baby, you may need to have two day time naps, one that is mid-morning, around 9 am or 10 am, and the second one after lunch in the afternoon.

Build a Daily Routine

The naps are a part of a bigger transitional step, which is the daily routine. One of the critical steps of how to transition baby to crib from Rock N Play is to get them used to a schedule. Those daily naps in the crib should be around the same time every day so that your baby can relax and understand that this is the new normal.


Their morning should start with the same wake-up time every day, diaper change, feeding, and change into their day clothes. You want to change and feed them in the same place for familiarity purposes. Having this stability and routine for your baby will make them more accepting of the change and what they can expect.

If your baby is still under three months, a mid-morning nap may be a part of your routine. Make sure that you lay your baby in the crib for that nap to begin the transition. I would only use the Rock N Play for these naps if you find your baby is restless and they are not taking their morning naps.


After they have had their mid-day feeding, they should be ready for their nap in the crib. Begin preparing your baby for crib sleeping, so that when you introduce it later at night, you are met with less resistance. The more familiar your baby becomes with their crib, the less trouble they will give you over the course of the transition.


After they have had their evening feeding, keep a routine of bath time, pajamas, and a swaddling rock from you. For the first two nights of the transition, you will want to place them first in the Rock N Play so that they will take on their normal sleep pattern.

Getting Through the Night

How to Transition Baby to Crib from Rock N Play
Once your baby is sound a sleep, move it carefully from the Rock n Play to the crib

After your baby is sound and deep into their sleep, carefully moved your swaddled baby from the Rock N Play to the crib. Best case scenario, they stay asleep until their feeding in the early hours of the morning. If your crib is in the nursery, you may want to get cozy in the glider, because your baby may wake up the first night or two.

When your baby wakes up, you have two options:

  • Rock them back to sleep
  • Cry it out

Depending on your parenting style and personal beliefs, one of these options is the best one for you. Neither option is better than the other, as they both produce the same result, with your baby successfully making the transition from Rock N Play sleeper to the crib.

Rock Your Baby Back to Sleep

Getting back to the glider, if your baby wakes up, you can console them and rock them back to sleep. Place the baby back into the crib once they are back to sleep, and get comfortable back in the glider because this step could repeat itself one or two more times. They will begin to accept that the crib is the right place for them to sleep.

While you could use a different rocking device to help with how to transition baby to crib from Rock N Play, your best results will come with going straight to the crib from your arms.

Using different devices to make it easier could make the overall transition much longer, which will be harder for both you and your baby.

Cry it Out

For the parents who do not want to consistently rock their babies, the cry it out option is the better choice for them. When the baby wakes up, simply allow the baby to cry until the baby goes back to sleep. This step could take some time, however, because your baby could cry for only minutes or hours, depending on the child.

I would prepare for this step to last anywhere from 2-3 nights. In most cases, it will take your baby about this long to realize they are safe and accept the familiarity of the crib. In most cases, however, once the crying it out is over, it really is over. This method can be very stressful for parents because you have to be awake when the baby is awake crying.

It is also not recommended to let a baby cry for too long without calming him down, so even if you use the cry it out method, you should be prepared to lift your baby after a few minutes every time he cries so he won’t cry too much straight.

Put on the Sound Machine

If you have a sound machine in your nursery, playing the music that is calming and soothing will make all the difference in getting your baby to sleep. If this is something you used while they were in the Rock N Play, it is critical to move it to the nursery with the crib. A sound machine drowns out the other noises coming from within your home. For newborns, the noise is reminiscent of the womb, giving them a familiar sound and feeling, which is ultimately calming.

Making the Permanent Change

Now that your baby has slept through the first few nights in the crib, they will wake up in a new place the next morning, and there is no turning back. Expect them to be a little anxious when they wake up and start their new day. Continue your routine, as usual, taking them to similar surroundings that they recognize. Many of us feed our babies in another area of the home, so make sure that you move to your normal feeding area with your baby so that they recognize their surroundings and begin to calm down.

After 3 to 5 days of sleeping in the crib and getting used to their environment, your baby will fuss less and begin accepting the transition to the crib. At that time, I encourage you to remove the Rock N Play from your room or the nursery, no longer making it visible for use.

Make the Transition Now

The steps in this how to transition baby to crib from Rock N Play give an insight into how mothers are working to make this change and move forward with a safer way for their baby to sleep. The biggest takeaways to remember before you start this process is to make sure that you have a routine in place, keep the environment as familiar as you can (i.e. sound machine), and have patience. This transition does not happen overnight. It will take several days for it to happen completely.