Hey guys, at the request of many of you I thought I better get off my lazy pregnant butt and write a blog about Myla’s transition from cot to bed. It has been just over a month and the outcome – success! I didn’t want to write about the switch until a sufficient amount of time had passed and I knew she had fully settled in. Well we are 100% there and we couldn’t be happier! I really had no idea what I was doing when it came to the switch so I asked the mama community and was overwhelmed with the response I got, thank you! A majority of mamas out there made the switch well before 2 which I found surprising yet encouraging. It made me a lot more confident going ahead.
So firstly, why did we make the switch? There were four main reasons:
- Baby boy is due in June therefore I really didn’t want to buy another cot for the sake of a few months;
- It had to be done a few months before her baby brother arrived so that she wouldn’t feel resentment towards him taking ‘her’ bed;
- Bending over with a growing belly was getting harder and harder (the bump grew a lot sooner than with Myla so I knew I had to act quickly); and
- We recently moved house and I didn’t want to decorate Myla’s room only to change it up a couple months later.
The process was relatively quick and simple. We made the decision and went shopping! We did our best to involve Myla in the transition even though she couldn’t really grasp what was going on. I knew what bed I wanted a while ago, she ‘helped’ me and her Tata assemble it that night and the cot was moved out. I even took her shopping for new bed sheets the day before and she loved it! She was particularly excited about her big girl pillow with the bunny case haha. Once her bed was in and dressed, that was it…there was no turning back.
We followed our same nightly routine of bath and bed and led her to her big girl bed. I tried to remain calm and act like it was no big deal…well it seemed to work as she fell asleep instantly! We were pretty stoked but I had a feeling the night time sleep wouldn’t be the issue – the day time nap was going to be the real struggle.
When it comes to nap time, we don’t really have a routine. I simply tell her ‘nigh nigh’ when it reaches the 11-11.30am mark and hope for the best. The upside to the cot was that when she protested she couldn’t escape. The bed however, well she can hop right out anytime she wants. For the first few days I did sit with her and do the dreaded butt tap and that worked, but I knew this wasn’t a long term plan. I simply wont have the time with a newborn to put her to sleep every day so, I toughened up and simply closed the door! Surprisingly the door close worked a lot better than I thought. Initially she cried a little and would bang on the door in protest. I would go in and tell her ‘nigh, nigh’ and walk her back in to her bed. For the first couple days we repeated this until she fell asleep, but I slowly made the response time a bit longer until I simply didn’t go in at all. Now, if she doesn’t fall asleep straight away, she gets up, attempts to open the door, finds that its closed, turns back around, hops into bed and succumbs to the dream fairies haha. Persistence is key. At first I felt a bit bad and would run in at the first sign of any noise, but after just one day of the tough love approach, she got it!
There were some bumps in the road along the way of course. For example, on one occasion we napped together in my bed and that threw her the following day. She didn’t want me to leave her side (sigh) so I had to retrain for a couple days. Myla also decided three days in a row to wake up at 1am and walk into our bedroom shouting ‘morning’, umm what? Out of sheer laziness we would pick her up, put her in between us and fall asleep again but I knew we couldn’t keep this up or she would get used to it. So on the fourth night I rolled out of bed, walked her back into her room and closed the door. She cried for maybe 5 mins and then fell straight to sleep. Luckily it was that easy as I was not keen on 1am toddler parties.
Tips from other mums:
Prior to making the transition I was given quite a few tips from other mums. Below is a list of points that might be of use to you if you don’t find my story helpful.
- To prevent falls from the bed, start with a mattress on the floor and add the bed frame once they are used to the mattress.
- Target do sell an adjustable bed rail if a mattress on the floor isn’t your thing.
- Clear the room of toys so that there are no distractions.
- This makes sense, particularly if your toddler is hard to put to sleep. Luckily, I didn’t have to clear our Myla’s room!
- Make sure that all furniture is secure (book cases etc.) so that if they do wake up in the middle of the night unsupervised, there isn’t a risk of them climbing on furniture and getting seriously injured.
- Verbal encouragement – tell them how proud you are of them in their big girl bed. Exaggerate like a crazy mama, kids love it.
- Use the same comforter/teddy/blanket that they used in their cots to keep things familiar.
- Let them put themselves into bed if they can. I preferred walking Myla into her room rather than carrying to make her feel like a ‘big girl’.
At the end of the day it really does depend on the child. If they aren’t ready, they aren’t ready and you might just have to wait. Don’t expect miracles to happen; give it some time and if things still aren’t working try again in a few months. Good luck mamas!xx