If you're thinking about moving your little one from a cot to a bed, read this first.
New baby on the way, a relentless out-of-the-cot climber or a kid mastering toilet training - there's a bunch of reasons why it's time to evict babe from the cot.
Making the transition from cot to bed can be disruptive for the whole family - especially when your kid realises that you're just a few sleepy steps down the hall.
Here's our top five tips for Cot the Bed success, and remember, consistency is key!
1. Don't try to transition too soon.
When you have the choice to delay transitioning, you might find that waiting an extra 12 months makes all the difference. Generally we see parents making the transition between 1 and 3 years old - the closer you can wait to 3, the better, though success can happen much earlier with the right tools.
2. Consider a cot that converts to a toddler bed.
If you don't need to cot for another baby, and your toddler isn't too big for the cot (i.e. their feet aren't getting caught in the bars or they look uncomfortable and unable to stretch out), keeping babe's bed the 'same' apart from the side rail can be a good first step. This might help you extend the time between them needing to move to a single bed, and give them a little extra time to mature for the big move.
3. Go back in time and make sure you have a solid sleep routine (just kidding, we know you did this already)
There's a reason why most Sleep Consultants insist that a sleep routine is the foundation of good sleep - it's because it works! You might not see the results of your sleep routine when baby is small - there's a whole bunch of factors why babies wake overnight, and why their sleep might be amazing one day, and terrible the next! But as they start getting older, you'll see the benefits of all of your hard work! We like to call our sleep routines 'Sleep Rituals', because they're based on patterns of behaviour, not the clock. If you have established a set pattern of behaviours that occurs before bed, it's much easier for babe to transition into sleeping in different environments - be that at their Grandparent's house, on holidays, or when switching up one part of their environment like their bed. We have a bunch of info on sleep rituals here.
4. Layer in positive sleep associations.
In our world, however baby gets to sleep in order for Mum and bub to get the most amount of rest is F I N E. But, there are some sleep associations (things your baby uses/the way they get to sleep) that are less parent intensive than others. Baby controlled sleep associations are those which baby can use to get to sleep without parental intervention. These can include thumb or fist sucking, a baby comforter, white noise and a sleeping bag. If you have these positive sleep associations, it's much easier on babe when the environment in which they're sleeping changes, as they have these sleep associations which remain consistent. They're also things which make them feel secure and comfortable, and therefore in a psychological and physiological state to fall asleep.
5. Get them involved in the process.
Get your little one excited about their sleep space by getting them involved in the process! Let them be part of selecting the bed (race car bed, here you come, lol), the sheets and linen, get some new 'magic' pyjamas, and buy a special new 'bedtime' toyjust for big kid cuddles in their new bed.
Good luck, and remember that any change often brings with it some disruption. As with any change or setback with your baby's sleep, it only takes a few days of 'sleep maintenance' to get back on track.
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