Transitioning Baby to Crib with a DockATot

There comes a time in every mama’s life when she must begin to consider transitioning baby to crib from co-sleeping or just a bassinet close by. Whatever the starting sleeping arrangement, transitioning baby to crib can be tricky for all parties involved it’s not carefully executed.  Using a DockATot, I was able to master PAINLESSLY transitioning baby to crib in just a few nights. No sleepless nights. No tears. Just happy babes and rested parents.

I will admit, the first time I heard of the DockATot, I did an eye roll. The baby industry is just bananas… why would anyone spend nearly $200 on an oversized pillow? Despite hearing a zillion testimonials about how amazing they were, I was still too skeptical to put one on my baby registry. A few weeks before my due date, I was perusing the Target clearance shelves in the baby department where there was a DockATot Deluxe that someone had returned from online (I don’t believe Target carries them in-store). The rave reviews got the best of me and I had a handful of gift cards to use from my baby shower, so I figured I would buy it to have on hand and just return it if I didn’t use it. I now look back on this as one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. I’ll explain….

Without mincing words… the DockATot is freaking amazing. It has served as a sleep training tool, portable sleep space for nap time and sleepovers, play mat, safe place to put baby when my hands are full, counter top baby dock – I could go on.  We’ve taken it to friends houses, grandma and grandpas, church, on the boat… pretty much everywhere the baby has been and it’s been a life saver every time.  On top of all of that, the DockATot served as the single most helpful too in easily transitioning baby to her crib and for that I am SO GRATEFUL. You can find this little piece of gold here.


Therein lies the problem. We had developed a dependency on the glorious DockATot, and baby was dangerously close to outgrowing it.

Now that she’s getting old enough that she’s close to being able to sit up on her own, I’m not as concerned about most of the uses. DockATot does make a larger version, the DockATot Grand, which I will probably purchase in the near future.. but again, I want it to be a tool, not a crutch. BUT my child has been sleeping twelve straight hours every night since she was eleven weeks old, and that is a luxury I am not willing to forego (I will talk more about my magical sleep training technique in another post).  A few weeks ago, we were visiting grandparents and we made the mistake of leaving the Dock-a-Tot behind…. Lord have mercy.  We were up once every hour for the entire night. At this point we realized that cold turkey was definitely not an option, and we would need to wean baby off of the Dock-a-Tot before she completely grew out of it. So I started the journey to transitioning baby to her crib immediately the next morning. Here is how I seamlessly transitioned my baby from Dock-a-Tot to bare crib in just a few days:

Transitioning Baby to Crib with a DockATot

  1. I started with the DockATot in the crib at nighttime:

I will start by saying that DockATot doesn’t recommend this practice (probably for liability purposes), so do this AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION. At this point, my baby wasn’t able to get out of the DockATot on her own so I wasn’t concerned about her safety. If your baby is already rolling out of the DockATot, I might skip this step. Before this, we had baby in our room in her Rock ’n Play, and it was a pretty seamless transition to the DockAtot in her crib. Side note – IMO this makes the DockAtot an incredible tool to transition baby to crib from cosleeping/sleeping in your room in a bassinet.

2. I purchased a breathable crib bumper:

This is to make baby feel cozier in the crib. Going from being surrounded by a big snuggly pillow to just floating in the middle of a wooden box would make me feel a little vulnerable too. The crib bumper makes the transition to crib a little bit more comfortable for baby emotionally, as well as keeps those little arms and legs from getting stuck between the crib bars. I used the BreathableBaby Ultra Luxe Mesh Crib Liner, which you can find here. This one is great because it has a little more padding than most breathable crib bumpers, so it’s a cozier feel for baby.

3. I made sure all naps were taken in the crib, with no DockATot:

In my opinion, it’s much better to test the waters at 2 in the afternoon when I’m folding laundry than at 3am when hubby and I are fast asleep. There were a few times where I had to go in and comfort her or give her a pacifier, but she adjusted to nap time pretty quickly.

4. I placed baby near or against the crib bars:

I’ve read that babies have a great sense of proximity. When I put her in the crib, I would place her back up against the crib bumper to create a snuggly feeling similar to what the DockATot offers. Most of the time, she would roll around in her sleep and move from her original position, but I found that she almost always would end up cozying up along the crib bumper in one way or another.

5. And finally, I pulled the DockATot:

After a few days to a week of weaning baby off of the DockATot, I felt we were ready to pull it at nighttime. Just a few days of transitioning baby to crib made a WORLD of difference. No waking up every hour, and she is back to her twelve-hour-nightly-uninterrupted-sleep-marathon. YAY!

Again, these are the steps I used to transition my baby to her crib using the DockATot. Every baby is different, and what worked for us may not work for everyone but it’s certainly worth a shot! DISCLAIMER: check with your pediatrician, as some might recommend refraining from using a crib bumper/DockATot in the crib/etc.

I hope this helps! Stay tuned for more posts on baby sleep training, and thanks for reading! 🙂

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  1. Mireyah | 26th Sep 17

    I am currently trying to wean my 5 month old off the Dockatot. He has been sleeping in his crib with it and similar to your baby, has been sleeping 12 hours straight. He’s started to role and wrap himself on the side which I felt nervous about so I feel like its time to wean him off. I noticed in the photo that your baby is on her tummy with face planted on the mattress. My son has been doing this as well but it makes me nervous that he will suffocate but for some reason he has fallen asleep like this when we have put him in the crib without the dockatot. Any advice on face planting that way? He’s able to role on his belly but is still having a hard time turning from belly to back.

    • maternityleague | 30th Nov 17

      Hi Mireyah! Thanks for your comment and so sorry for the delay, we’re expecting #2 and I’ve been out of commission for a bit! I actually had the same concern when I noticed my daughter start doing this. Being a crazy new mom, I even asked my doctor about it and he said that if she is strong enough to roll out, she should be able to push herself up in the event that she has trouble breathing. My daughter is now 10 months and she still sleeps this way and we’ve never had a problem!

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