Transitioning From a Crib to a BIG GIRL/BOY BED

This experienced mom made a rookie mistake.

I thought the transition from a crib to a toddler bed would be no big deal, when in fact any change for a two year old is a very big deal. Take my advice and follow these tips for the smoothest transition possible.

My best piece of advice? WAIT AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. My daughter climbed out of the crib once and I thought she needed a bed right away. I should have waited to see if that was a fluke or an actual issue.

 

Assuming you are ready and have waited as long as possible, first, choose the bed. You may want to consider just placing a mattress on the floor. There are also some really adorable floor beds on Etsy. Whether you choose to use your crib mattress or go straight to a twin, the most important thing is your child needs to be able to get in and out easily to foster independence.

Most toddler beds come with some type of rail but it proved basically useless for my kid. These magic bumpers were a wonder and so inexpensive.

It’s important to mention, if you haven’t already, you must completely baby proof the entire room. Attach dressers and bookshelves and anything else that could tip over to the wall. Cover all outlets. Make sure all windows are properly secured. Your child is about to get a taste of freedom and they’re certainly going to use it!

Next, plan what you will do if (more likely, WHEN) you child will attempt to exit their room. If you currently shut their door after you put them to bed, this may continue to work. If you don’t or if they can open the door, have this extra tall gate on hand. I would say have it on hand regardless. You can put it in place and still shut the door- then it just serves as an insurance policy that they are not wandering the halls at all hours.

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My daughter sitting on the floor, very unhappy she could no longer wander the halls (we practiced “fading” and would first sit close to the gate, then in the hallway where she could see us, and then in the hallway out of sight)

Finally, pick up one of these handy “OK to Wake” alarm clocks. Even though my kid is far from understanding actual time, she gets that green means it time to wake up. When she calls for me at 5am, I ask her to look at her clock and see if it’s green. She says no and *mostly* goes back to sleep ūüôā ūüôā ūüôā

Be prepared that you might need to sleep train your child all over again. Hopefully these tips and products will make it as easy as possible for you!

*This post includes affiliate links which means if you chose to buy something I mention, please do so using the links above. There is no additional cost to you and it’s a nice way to say thank you and help offset this Mom’s addiction to Amazon Prime*

 

 

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Making Life Easier The First Year- The Baby Items You Won’t Want To Live Without

Since it had been 12 years since having a baby, I was so excited to buy every last baby item I could get my hands on. I mean, what is more fun than shopping for baby stuff?!

B and I were just discussing what were the good purchases and what we could have done without. The Bugaboo that I was dying to have? Sure, it is beautiful and I very much enjoyed taking her for walks the first few months but when we were actually leaving the house on a daily basis the fact that it is two pieces and heavy as hell became a real annoyance (hello, Baby Jogger City Mini GT!). The Pack N’ Play? Well, it served the purpose of having a place to put her downstairs but I would never attempt to travel with it because it is so heavy and a real pain to take down and put up (enter the Lotus Travel Crib, which I adore). The items below are certainly not must-haves like a crib and car seat but these are must-haves for making your life a tab bit simpler with an infant.

 

 

 

Sleep Tips For Months 4-6 (which just may be the hardest months)

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For me at least, months 4 and six were tough- possibly even tougher than months one and two. In the beginning, the lack of sleep doesn’t seem to effect you the way one would think but then, BAM! it catches up and you are really, really, really tired.

This is also around the time that you will stop swaddling and when the pacifier will fall out of the baby’s mouth¬†all night long.

So, given the above mentioned challenges, here are my sleep tips for getting through these potentially rough months.

Swaddling

In my sleep tips for the first month, I explained the importance of the swaddle. I cannot stress this enough! However, all good thing must come to an end and once your baby is able to turn from their back to their stomach, the swaddling must stop. A good transitional swaddle is the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle.¬†You can use it as a traditional swaddle or wrap the baby across the chest. This will continue to provide a sense of security a regular sleepsack won’t give them.

You’ll first stop the swaddle during naps and see how your baby adjusts. Some are fine from the get go and others, not so much. My daughter loved the swaddle so we began our transition by leaving one arm out. We did this for naps for a few days and then at night. Once she is¬†sleeping well with one arm out, you’ll start to leave both arms out and cross the baby at the chest (leaving both arms out). Sleep crutch number 1 is now gone!

Pacifiers- A Love/Hate Relationship

Pacifiers can be you and your baby’s very best friend. Many doctors now recommend them as protection against SIDS. I suggest only using pacifiers during nap and bedtimes, if possible, so you don’t get a baby who is overly reliant on the soothing they provide. We actually keep ours strictly in the crib and one in the diaper bag for on-the-go emergencies. When I get her up, I take it right out of her mouth and leave it in the crib.

Right around this time, the pacifier seems to fall out of their mouth all night long. You have a few choices on how to deal with this annoying dilemma, each with their own pros and cons.

  1. When they lose it, let them cry it out. For me personally, I wasn’t ready to just let her cry it out at this point but some people do and have great success. Do what works for you and you feel comfortable with!
  2. Take away the pacifier completely. The pacifier is a sleep crutch, just like swaddling. You can totally take it away at any point you wish to. Be prepared for a few (3-5 is average) rough nights but they will get the hang of sleeping without it. However, if you choose to take it away, DO NOT PUT ANOTHER SLEEP CRUTCH IN ITS PLACE! Do not start picking them up, rocking them to sleep, or putting them in bed with you.
  3. Go in and replace it. Ughhhhhh. This is what I did and let me tell you, it was a rough few weeks. During this time, I also worked with her during the day on learning how to put the pacifier back in her mouth. I also did what’s known as “the sprinkle”. This is where you sprinkle many, many pacifiers in the crib in hopes of the baby finding one and replacing it themselves.¬†During this time, I was not getting her up for feeding, rocking or anything- I just went in and stuck the pacifier in her mouth.

Other Challenges During This Time Period

Teething, traveling, a growth spurt, a sick baby- all of these things can throw a fairly well scheduled baby off course. My advise- whatever you do, do not start bad habits you’ll have to break later. When your baby is up screaming because they’re in pain, absolutely pick them up, rock them, soothe them but then put them back in their crib. You may have to do this multiple times in a night- tag your partner for a break but stay the course! With parenting, now and even when they’re teenagers, the easy thing to do is usually not the right thing to do. Parenting is hard work but the end result (in this case a baby who has good sleep habits)¬†is worth your effort and energy.

*ALWAYS PUT A BABY TO SLEEP ON THEIR BACK*

All advice above is solely my personal opinion based on my experience. Always consult a medical professional with any medical concerns. 

 

 

Newborn Sleep Tips – Months 2-4

Terms to Know-

45 Minute Intruder- one sleep cycle; babies seem to miraculously wake up from naps right at the 45 minute mark. This is because they are transitioning from one sleep cycle to another. They are really not ready to wake up. They will be crying; a well-rested baby should wake up happy from a nap.

Dreamfeed- The very last feeding of the day. The baby is sleeping and you stick a boob/bottle in a sleeping baby’s mouth. Do this right before you go to bed for the night but not after 11pm (that would be considered a middle of the night feeding). This “buys” you time by topping off their stomachs. Turn on minimal lights. Do not change the diaper unless you smell you need to. No talking.

Loveya transitional object used to help the baby fall asleep

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Jules sleeping in my arms- swaddled but not wanting to be put down. Me looking very tired.

Sometime around four weeks, your little human will start to be awake more.

This is also the time when colic may begin and when you will start¬†to see what type of baby you have. It is true- some babies are easier than others. There’s no way around it. And colic? It’s a bitch.¬†Two of my three had it. You will be in survival mode and live on coffee, catnaps, and your baby’s smiles (even if they are far and few between). These are the things you cannot control. You will be working on the things you can.

First, you need to create a sleep haven, a delicious sleep environment. A black out shade is a must. Continue to use the sound machine and keep on swaddling your baby. When your baby outgrows the SwaddleMe swaddles,  I love these because they help with transitioning out of the swaddle after 4 months. Around 3-4 months, introduce a lovey. This is our favorite. Make sure to buy at least two so you always have an extra. If you have a baby that fights sleep, these are the weapons in your arsenal.

Optimal wake time is no longer than 1 hour and will most likely be in the 30-45 minute range, at least at the start of this time period. You will probably be on a 2-3 hour feeding schedule during the day and hopefully longer at night. EASY is still in play (and will continue to be through out the first year).

During these months, your first goal is to get the baby to sleep WHEN you want her to. You are beginning to put a schedule into place so the focus is on the time. The WHERE is secondary. So yes, sometimes the baby will sleep in your arms during the day. This is not to say the WHERE isn’t important! I highly recommend putting the baby to sleep for naps in her crib righty away for naps (see newborn sleep tips) but sometimes that’s just not possible.

Around this time I became frustrated because she was only napping for 45 minutes, not the two hours I was aiming for. I googled it (what else do we do these days) and it’s a THING! The 45 Minute Intruder, otherwise known as a big pain to new moms. So 45 minutes comes and you have two choices- run in and give the paci and run right back out OR let your baby fuss and hope she goes back to sleep. I chose the former and this happened every day for a few weeks but the…YES! We got through it and arrived in the promised land of two hour naps (we are still there at 9 months). Do not give up! Remember anything less than an hour is a “CRAP NAP” so don’t just throw up your hands and say my baby doesn’t nap. All babies need sleep to grow and develop optimally.

Evicted!

Right around 10 weeks, I made the transition from the co-sleeper in my room to the crib in her room. This was mainly because I kept hearing every movement and getting her up when she didn’t need to get up. This was also the time when she began sleeping through the night. By night, I mean after the dreamfeed, she would sleep until around 6. For many, 6am does not feel like wake up time but anything more than six hours is considered sleeping through the night so embrace it! By 12 weeks, I would definitely recommend making the move.

You want them sleeping at three months

where you want them sleeping at three years.

Sample Schedule

6am- Eat/Activity

7am-9am SLEEP

9am- Eat/Activity

10am-12pm- SLEEP

12pm- Eat/Activity

1pm-3pm- SLEEP

3pm- Eat/Activity

4pm- 6pm- SLEEP

6pm- Eat/Activity

This is the long stretch; try to keep the baby up for longer at this point, aiming for 8pm. This is a good time to begin a bedtime routine that includes a bath, stories and other relaxation activities

8pm- Sleep for the night

Sometime between 10pm-11pm- DREAMFEED

During these months, if your baby is still taking middle of the night feedings, always wait to see if they are just “fussing” or really crying because they’re hungry. Keep feedings all business- no lights, no talking and only diaper changes when absolutely necessary.

All days are different. Some days you’ll be lucky to get one solid 2 hour nap. As with anything in life, you need to have GOALS and that what any schedule is- a goal. It’s where you’d like them to be. Accept that it’s not always going to happen but don’t give up!

The first four months are the hardest. By putting solid sleep practices into place, you are helping both you and your baby get the sleep you both desperately need!

*ALWAYS PUT A BABY TO SLEEP ON THEIR BACK*

All advice above is solely my personal opinion based on my experience. Always consult a medical professional with any medical concerns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hush, Little Baby- Sleep Tips For The First Month

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First, my disclaimer- I am not a sleep expert by any means. However,¬†I have had three babies who are all good sleepers and I do think it has to do with the sleep strategies I have put in place from day 1. So here is my wisdom, taken from experience and countless books and articles regarding sleep. Since it’s a lot to take in, I’m going to do it in multiple posts, broken down by months.

Month 1

Terms to Know-

  1. E.A.S.Y- Eat, Awake/Activity, Sleep, You Time
  2. Swaddle- The way you wrap a baby to prevent the Moro Reflex that WILL wake them if they are not properly swaddled (up to months 4-5)

Items You Need-

  1. Rock N’ Play With Auto Rock
  2. Swaddle blankets
  3. Sound Machine
  4. Pacifier, if you chose to use one

With a brand new baby, any type of schedule is difficult to put into place. My advice for the first month is to keep EASY in mind but don’t worry if the baby won’t stay awake after eating. The Optimal Sleep Time for the first month is no more than 40 minutes, and usually a lot less. Try for stimulation but babies need A LOT of sleep so let that baby sleep! ***¬†It is important to realize there is a difference between real sleep and comfort sleep. Let me explain. A real sleep will happen anywhere. The baby is tired and needs sleep. A comfort sleep happens when the baby is comfortable, in your arms for example. They doze because they are content. When it’s awake time and the baby is sleeping in your arms, make sure to put the baby down and see if she stays asleep. That’s how you’ll know the difference.***

During the day– When you want the baby to sleep, I recommend a light swaddle such as the Aden and Anais blankets. I use the crib from the start¬†for at least 1 to 2 naps which I think is helpful later on. For some reason, moms can be scared to use the crib so I recommend starting during the day when you’re awake so you start to feel more comfortable.

At night, from now until around week 10– Swaddle that baby tightly using the Summer Swaddles (I tried soooooo many and these were the best). I recommend putting the baby down for the night in a flat bassinet, pack and play or co-sleeper in your room. Then when she wakes for the middle of the night feedings, keep the lights very, very dim, change her, feed her (keep talking to a minimum) and put her in the Rock and Play, motion on. Set both the motion and the sound machine for 45 minutes. Yes, even if she’s still awake. You are starting right away to teach her¬†to fall asleep drowsy.

It is not an easy month. You will be sleep deprived. And cranky. And more in love than you thought possible (even if it’s not your first!). If you take only one thing away from this article and by far the most important sleep advice for this month- DO NOT GIVE UP ON THE SWADDLE! The Moro Reflex is a very real thing and all babies have it. You must find a swaddle that works for you and your baby to extend a deep, restful sleep for you both.

*ALWAYS PUT A BABY TO SLEEP ON THEIR BACK*

All advice above is solely my personal opinion based on my experience. Always consult a medical professional with any medical concerns.