My Convertible Life

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Strategery: Moving to the Big Girl Bed

How do you know when it's time to move your toddler out of the crib and into a big bed?

With Junius, we knew it was time because I was pregnant and needed a crib for his baby sister. Plus, he never slept well in the crib anyway, so it was no great trauma to move him.

We put him in a double bed with rails for the first time when we were at the beach, just after he turned two. He promptly buried himself under his blanket and friends and went to sleep. Just like that.

With Pippi, it's a different story. She always slept well in her crib, at least compared to her brother. And she was contained that way -- good both for timeouts and for letting her sing herself to sleep at night without worrying that she was roaming around in her room.

I was in no rush to move her, as long as she could still fit in the crib. I figured we'd wait until she turned three, then transition her so we could pass along the crib to our friends who are expecting their first baby in March.

So how did we know we needed to move her? She told us.

As in, she turned to me one night after Christmas, looked me straight in the eye and said in her most dramatically serious voice, "It is time, Mommy. It is time to give my crib to Molly."

Cue knife to Mommy's heart.

But she was right. It was time. So, based on our experience, here's your step-by-step guide to a successful transition from sweet baby crib to biggirlgrownup bed:

Step 1: Wait until you need the crib for someone else or until your child announces that she will no longer be sleeping in the crib. Feel sad.

Step 2: Come to terms quickly with the fact that your baby girl no longer fits in her crib like this:

Step 3: Make a "bed" on the floor out of blankets and pillows. Repair the nest during the night as your toddler wiggles and rolls around so that she doesn't end up sleeping on the carpet. Talk a lot about the importance of staying in your bed ALL NIGHT and not getting up. You can also take the mattress out of the crib and set it up like a bed on the floor.

Step 4: Clean up the nursery so you can take pictures of how adorable everything looked when your baby girl was still a baby. Notice suddenly how very big and tall and slender she is. Take a deep breath.

Step 5: Take apart the crib and set up the real bed. Add bed rails and load it up with friends, blankets and pillows. Talk some more about the importance of staying in bed ALL NIGHT. Snuggle up with your big girl and be thankful that a) there's enough room for you and b) she's still got that stinkin' pacie so at least she's not all grown-up just yet.


  1. LOL, I was thinking about doing a How about getting Miss A to sleep in her Big Girl Bed. Let's just say those steps include coming into her room after every nap/morning to find something else I needed to take out of there because she's found a new way to make a mess of her room/attempt some Evil Kinevel-type stunt. I'm pretty close to just changing her room into a padded cell with barred windows and a straight jacket as the only accessories.

    Your little girl? Adorableness in her BGB. I'm very jealous.

  2. Love that baby picture! I too keep my bunnies "en crib" as long as possible...3+ yrs both times! With N (who transitioned after Thanksgiving) we are STILL working on staying in bed all night. Always good to be reminded we are not unique in our struggles!

  3. Great story & pics sis. You can remove the knife if you haven't already :) They do grow up fast, even faster when they tell you they are growing up.

    Beautiful kids.

    aka Uncle Bubba

  4. We had to move our youngest out of his crib at 20 months when he started silently vaulting himself right out and appearing by our bedside in the night, delighted with himself. I was NOT ready, and he was thrilled with his new ability to leave his room whenever he wanted (cue installation of baby gate in doorway). He once woke us at 4:45am by appearing in our room and yelling "COFFEE!"

  5. I'm dragging my feet on ditching the crib for as long as she'll let me. The thought of her being mobile at night scares the crap out of me - lol! We did finally ditch the pacis after Christmas (though I still have them hidden in the kitchen cabinet because I'm not totally secure, so dumb of me) - baby steps, baby steps...

  6. THANK YOU for this post. K-Pants sleeps so well in his crib that I am dreading transitioning, and am truly not sure what to do when turtle number two arrives this summer. Love your step-by-step instructions!!

  7. Sophia is getting her big girl bed on Tuesday. She has to move rooms because her nursery is a true nursery - a bed won't fit in there. I am terrified - she's gonna love waking us up whenever she wants. But we will emphasize the STAY IN BED ALL NIGHT part, over and over and over...

    There is a part of me that is wondering if she'll look at the bed and say, Nope. I'll keep the crib, thanks. And I'll be secretly happy!

    (We're getting the bed now even though she's not asking for it in the hopes it'll help her sleep issues - the thought is maybe her crib is too small and she's waking herself up when rolling around and bumping into things.)

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