Tracey Quinn recently moved her son from cot to toddler bed. Here she shares her experience of managing the big transition. So was it a sleep revolution..?
Isn’t parenting just a great big roller-coaster of change? You think you have things figured out. You confidently refer to it as the ‘routine’. It is the very thing that gives your day structure. The means of which you can stick a wash on or shovel a cup of coffee down your throat in the afternoon during nap time. It is the glorious set-up that allowed you to start watching TV again in the evenings. You and your other half even exchange words some evenings. It is a good thing.
Anything that disrupts said routine is quite frankly, terrifying. Unannounced guests, high temperatures and traffic to name but a few offenders. It is enough to induce a milk sulk on a good day and actual tears on a bad one. Do not mess with the routine universe.
Throw a ‘non sleeper’ in to the mix and the bar is set even higher. Any semblance of sleep or routine is precious when your child is not a sleeper. Mostly, you live day by day, but there are some mild similarities daily. It’s enough to allow you to casually use the word routine the odd time.
My child is not a sleeper. Next time around I won’t expect sleep for the first year, at all. I think when they hit the two mark, you tend to accept the fact that they don’t sleep through. I am in various playgroups and online forums and there are a couple of us who still battle with sleep during toddlerhood. He never really was a sleeper.
We’ve tried it all – singing toys and special sleeping bags that promised blissful sleep. Each new thing was 100% going to be the one to work. Then we just accepted defeat and did what works. We co-sleep most of the time but generally, if we play our cards right, the little man will sleep in his cot for a couple of hours at least. It’s a pretty good set up all things considered. We still get a bit of time to ourselves in the evening and he sleeps soundly in our bed when the inevitable visit comes each night. It worked for us.
Tried every tactic
Or at least it did. A couple of weeks ago the precious evening sleep started to dwindle. He just wasn’t in to it any more. Wonderful news to us.
Hours were spent convincing him to go to sleep. Rocking, sushing, cuddling, extra milk. Whatever it took. We would collapse on to the sofa in search of some form of us-time. The TV show would only have started and he would wake up. The milk had barely reached the cup of tea. A succession of up and down the stairs occurred.
Exhaustion ensued and we were like two elderly pensioners with sore backs. Lifting a heavy weight up and down from a cot several times a night is physically exhausting. It exacerbates the emotional weariness.
The big move – from cot to toddler bed
And so we decided to get a toddler bed. Sure wasn’t this as good a time as any? He didn’t sleep as it was, but anything that required us to bend down less was a good thing. He would wake just as often but we wouldn’t have to lift him in and out of the cot countless times.
We got the cutest little toddler bed. Complete with fancy memory foam mattress and Paw Patrol bedding. We made a big fuss and photos were taken to remember this big moment for our toddler.
Another emotional change and a step in the direction of our little man being more independent.
He absolutely loved the bed. Just not quite enough to sleep in it all night. I can happily report that while the wake ups are still as regular as before, our posture has significantly improved and he can now toddle in to us in the middle of the night rather than needing rescuing. All in all, this has been a good thing. He’ll start sleeping through the night at some stage. Any day now….
What do other mums say about moving to the big bed?
“This definitely depends on the child in question, moving my now six year old daughter was such an exciting time for us all. It was mainly down to her personality, she loved new experiences as long as she was well prepared in advance. She relished in becoming a big girl, but alas I am in the process of making this move with my son, who is two years and two months old. It’s not so easy this time! This little man is a creature of habit and he is also a live wire, so I know he will ramble during the night. I have bought Fireman Sam covers etc, but to no avail, as he says, “no mama, no big bed.” My son shares a room with his 15 month old brother, so I anticipate a lot of sleepless nights and trips across the landing, but I feel that repetition and perseverance are the only way to achieve any change to the norm.”
– Mandy Kelly
“I have three boys and I switched each of them from cot to toddler bed at 17 months because I felt at that age they were in an established sleep routine. They were also old enough to play safely in their room when they woke, and young enough not to notice or become fearful of the change. One or two nights of guiding them back into bed after the novelty of being able to get out of it and that was it. I would recommend a safety gate on the door, so they don’t wander during the night while sleepy.”
– Siobhan Keane
• Infants should sleep on their backs, on firm, clean surfaces, in the absence of smoke and under light (comfortable) blanketing.
• Your baby’s head should never be covered.
• Parents taking sedatives, medication, drugs or alcohol – or those who are excessively unable to arouse, should not co-sleep on the same surface with the infant.
• The bed should not have any stuffed animals or pillows around the infant and never place an infant to sleep on top of a pillow.
• Infants should never sleep on couches or sofas, with or without adults wherein they can slip down (face first) into the crevice or get wedged against the back of a couch.
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