The Big Switch from Crib to Bed
When I was a new mom, it felt like my child was always growing out of their bed. First the bassinet, then the crib, and finally the “big kid bed”. While we knew that each change was reflective of developmental milestones, it was always a big change for our kiddo (and us too!). While we knew it was a good thing, it still pulled at the heartstrings, knowing they were getting bigger!
So if the thought of having your little one switch beds brings up a lot of feelings, go ahead
and feel them! We don’t throw shade here at Whole Night Sleep Consulting, especially when it comes to having emotions. But I found that a little preparation went a long way in how I felt about my kids transitioning to different beds. And I’m here to pass along some of that wisdom. So grab your coffee out of the microwave (I bet you forgot it there, right?), and let’s get to it!
From Bassinet to Crib
Before you’re doing any bed switching for your little one, it’s important to note that Health Canada’s official recommendation is that baby sleeps in their own safe sleep space in the same room as you for their first 6 months. We call this room sharing - not to be confused with bed sharing.
The good news here is that the transition from bassinet to crib is usually easier than crib to bed is. So if your little babe is outgrowing their bassinet or moving to their own room, there’s a handful of things you can do to help the transition along.
So... what can you do?
Routines, routines! - Keep everything that you can the same. If your nights always consist of feed, pjs, book, & sleep sack, then keep doing just that! Consistency is reassuring to little ones.
Environment - Having an effective sleep environment like white noise, black out curtains, and sleep sack, (or swaddle if they’re younger than 12 weeks), are all great ways to help encourage great rest. These are items you’ll be using for years with your little. So you might as well start benefiting early!
Minimal - Whether your little one is in a bassinet or crib, it should be very minimal in there. We’re talking simply a fitted sheet and their sleep sack. If they’re 12+ months, they could have a fave stuffy in their too. But this means the bumpers stay at the store, and the blankets don’t make it into their bed.
Timing - There’s nothing worse than trying to rush a big change. Try as you might, it may take a handful of days to catch on - and that’s okay! Make sure that during this time you are home for naps & bedtime, and have a plan for support if things take a little longer than anticipated.
Sound straightforward? It is!
Of course sometimes babies have their own plans, but typically this transition is pretty doable. And as always I’m just a click away if things go south.
From Crib to Bed
I’ll be honest, sometimes this transition takes more effort and time. Instead of dealing with a teensy baby, you have a full on toddler with more opinions and capabilities. While it’s totally doable, let’s just say you’ve been warned. I recommend you adjust your expectations more than you did when you were transitioning into a crib. That being said, you know I’m not here to scare you - so here’s how everyone can continue thriving:
Don’t transition until they’re 3! - I can’t stress this one enough! I can’t tell you all the families that have come to me looking for help after they’ve made the switch too soon. You simply cannot reason with a 2 year old, and often their sleep goes off the rails with this new found freedom. If your kiddo is escaping their crib, try dropping their mattress to the floor (ONLY if it’s safe to do so and it doesn’t create a gap where baby could get stuck), putting their sleep sack on backwards, or keep stuffed friends out of their crib if they’re using them to stand on. Ideally you want to keep them in their crib as long as possible.
Involve them - Make the switch exciting! Let them choose new bedding, pjs, or a new stuffy to commemorate the occasion. This is a big change, and something you can all celebrate to help put the change in a positive light.
Routine - Just like you kept things the same when they transitioned into their crib, you’ll want to keep things the same as much as possible as they transition out.
Communicate clear boundaries - This probably looks like having a direct, age appropriate talk about what the expectations are surrounding staying in their bed, and staying in their room. If your kiddo is escaping too early in the morning, now is a great time to introduce an Okay to Wake clock and help them understand that they can’t come out of their room in the morning until the clock lets them know. They’re a life saver in the mornings! You can thank me later.
Just like any change you make with your little, these things can take time, patience, and outside support. If you’re really struggling with this, or any other sleep hurdles, I’m your go-to girl! As a Pediatric Sleep Consultant, Registered Nurse, and mom of 3, I’ve been through it all, and I know how to get to the other side. Those long nights can feel so isolating, and I don’t want you to do it alone! I’m serious, I’ll even come to your home and do bedtime with you.
Need your sleep? I’ll help you get there! Contact me or book your free call so I can make you a custom plan that works for your family. Think about what your life would be like if you got your sleep. Now let’s make it a reality!