When we first brought Tyler home from the hospital, we already had his “big boy” cot set up in his nursery, but he spent the first 6 months of his life sleeping either on us, in his Moses basket or in his Next2Me crib. When the time finally came to transitioning him into his cot, we brought it into our bedroom for a couple of weeks and had him sleep in his cot but in the room with us. When Tyler was around 6 or 7 months old we finally made the move to his own nursery. Of course, since then, he has spent many a night wedged in between both Jack and I but most nights, he’s been in his own room.
One afternoon this summer, I was getting myself dressed and so I popped Tyler into his cot in his room just next to ours and got to getting ready. Around 5 minutes had passed and I went back into Tyler’s room to take him back downstairs and to my absolute horror, Tyler was not in his cot. Of course, I shouted out his name and I heard a giggle coming from behind his curtain. My baby was on his windowsill.. NOT IN HIS COT. It was at that moment that I knew I needed to start thinking about making his cot a cot bed, because I couldn’t deal with that mini heart attack ever again.
A few short weeks later, I ordered a bed guard and with thanks to Jack’s Amazon prime account, it arrived the next day and so I took the side off of Tyler’s cot and lowered it to it’s lowest level. And that was it, our baby was in a big boy cot bed! Today I thought I’d share with you our experience and my top tips for making this process as smooth as possible.
Of course, ensuring that your little one is safe in the bed it the number one priority here. So the things that we bought in order to do this were a bed guard and a stair gate. We opted to put the stair gate on Tyler’s bedroom door instead of the top of the stairs purely because our stairs our very steep and a stair gate right at the top would be a tripping accident waiting to happen. We opted for a mesh bed guard that’s extendable so that when we move Tyler into a larger bed, if we need to use it then we still can and what’s great about ours is that it’s easily portable as it folds down flat, so we can take it away with us on our travels! If you’re wondering, it’s this bed guard!
In our case, it was a “we need to transition now” situation, as like I mentioned, Tyler was climbing out of his cot, but I think this is probably the most important point in this blog post. I’d suggest picking your first night to transition based on how both yourself and your little one are feeling. If they’re not been having very good stretches at night, it might not be the right time yet, similarly if yourself or your baby have recently been poorly, it might be best to wait until you’re both feeling 100%.
Make A Big Deal Out of It
I read so many articles suggesting you make little to no deal about the transition and many others suggesting you make a big song and dance about it, so really it’s up to you which way you approach it. But as this is written from my personal experience, I’ll tell you that I did make a big song and dance about it and it worked perfectly for us. I had Tyler in the room with my whilst I took the side off of the cot and popped the bed guard on and spoke to him excitedly about what I was doing and why. We had also purchased a toddler duvet, pillow and cover set as previously to this we had just used sleeping bags and blankets. So even though the entire experience was going to be something new, we had Tyler help us into making his big boy bed up. He immediately climbed up onto the bed and started doing his little happy dance!
For the rest of the day, I was talking to Tyler about his big boy bed and how exciting it would be that he would be sleeping in it that night. I’m still not 100% sure how much of what I tell Tyler he is capable of understanding but I like to speak to him like I would speak to any other person. This approach certainly worked for us as when it came to bedtime, he didn’t seem phased by the change in bed! I say that it was an entirely new surrounding but I did keep in a teddy that he always sleeps with and a blanket he’d used the night previously just so that he had some home comforts in with him.
We carried out Tyler’s normal evening routine and put him to bed around 7pm and he was quite happy to curl up in his new little bed! I was so worried that we’d have a night of kicking and screaming and repeatedly getting up out of bed, but we actually had a really great night! For the first two weeks or so, it was perfect, he slept all night and didn’t even get up out of bed once he awoke in the morning.
I wish I could tell you that it’s been the same ever since, but of course, life likes to throw curve balls our way and we’ve had many a night being awoken by a tiny human shouting at us from across the hall but thankfully, the actual going to bed process has remained pretty smooth!
Have you transitioned from cot to cot bed? Or did you go straight to a toddler or single bed? I’d love to hear your experiences with it and if you’re planning on making the switch soon, try not to worry! You’ve got this mama!