It’s impossible to spoil a newborn. All that time spent cuddling him while he naps helps with bonding and fosters development. But when you need a break, try these tricks to move him to his crib without waking him up.
1. Create ideal conditions
If you think he might nod off soon, make sure he’s dressed for (sleep) success by putting him, freshly changed, in a sleep sack. Try pre-warming the bassinet with a hot water bottle—after all, you’re much cozier than a cold crib.
2. Watch the eyes
If his eyes are darting under his lids, he’s in the REM stage. Wait until his muscles are relaxed and he’s breathing deeply. Then administer the floppy-arm test: Lift up his arm and drop it. If he doesn’t stir, you’re good to go.
3. Keep in contact
As you ever-so-gently lay him in his crib, keep one hand on his back and the other on his tummy. That continued pressure will ease the transition. If he startles, try patting his belly for a few minutes before you slink away.
4. Try again
If he startles awake as soon as you even think about moving, wait a few more minutes. (He might not have been in a deep enough sleep.) For these daytime snoozes, it’s always a good idea to have your phone or a magazine nearby in case you are stuck there for the long haul. You can attempt the lap-to-crib transfer again tomorrow (or maybe the day after). Remember, just because he won’t sleep by himself today doesn’t mean he’ll always need to sleep in your arms. This might be a phase.