Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Transitioning to a Toddler Bed



Prefacing this by saying this is 100% MY experience, it was not pleasant or easy by any means, but it was what was best for us, it may not be best for you & you may not agree with it, and that is OK.


Most of you know that we co-slept and bed shared with Georgia since the day she came home.  Her first days of life were spent sleeping on my chest because she would SCREAM inside the Halo bassinet that I thought we'd have her in at first.  Within 2 days of being home we ordered a Dockatot because I was so fearful of her sleeping on me, especially after all the csection drugs that were in me, my body was acting very strange and jittery and I was not comfortable with her sleeping on me, but it was the only way we slept until our beloved Dockatot arrived. 



We did the DAT for a few months then finally got her in the bassinet for awhile, then when she outgrew that she was in our bed full time bedsharing which we loved.  I rocked her to sleep in the living room every night and put her down between us at the top of our king size bed every single night and we LOVED having her with us.  I was nursing so it was the easiest for the both of us and Joe enjoyed having her close too.  We would separate our pillows and give her enough space between us where she would be safe and comfortable. 

Once I stopped nursing at 1 year we let her continue to sleep in our bed for a few months but I really wanted her transitioned into her own room because we were going to be heading into a transfer for baby number 2 and I wanted her 100% transitioned into her own space before a second child arrived.  I continued to rock her to sleep and would put her down in her crib every night and it worked out OK, but she would only sleep about 4-5 hours before waking and calling for me and would wind up in our bed every night.  We figured that she was just used to a bigger, comfier bed & who could blame her.  Our bed is amazing, its king size, we use flannel sheets, its just super comfortable and I think she was just so used to our bed that her crib just wasn't up to her standards. 

We decided that for Christmas we would get her a big girl bed.  It was actually a gift from my parents to Georgia.  Our plan is for Joe to build her a Montessori style frame around it, it will sit a little off the floor but won't be nearly as high as a regular bed but also won't be directly on the floor like it is right now either.  We got the full size mattress in November & decided on a random Sunday in early December that it was time to open it up and start the transition.

This was literally our first mistake.  Our very first step in this process WAS A MISTAKE, and here is why.  We started this on a Sunday, a Sunday that she was still sick (she had been the entire week prior) where her sleep had been whacky and off all week, she was taking longer and extra naps, she was sleeping like crap at night because she was so congested, she was also  about to start going through some sort of regression because she was slowly starting to boycott bed all together and pushed her 6:30-7pm bedtime back to 9-9:30 or later some nights.  IT WAS A SHIT SHOW in our house for 3 weeks with this new bedtime routine.  Joe and I were exhausted, luckily we made a great team and tired to balance attempts at putting her down.  He is game for staying up later so I would try at first then if it was getting late he'd take her for a bit and play with her or watch a movie, then I'd try to get some sleep and tag him out and go back in with her.  It was a complete disaster all because our timing absolutely sucked.

this was her earlier in the week 

What I will say about it all though is that the actual bed, was a great move for her.  She sleeps great it in, she maybe wakes up once calling for me or crying, she still comes into our room every so often, but overall she sleeps great in it.  It was the going down to sleep for us that we struggled with because she thought the bed was literally like a bounce house in her room, a place to play not a place to sleep, but now about a month into it she is really understanding that her bed is for night night and this where she sleeps.  I am able to lay her down with her blankie and her "waddi" as she refers to her cup of water at bed time and lay next to her and she will actually lay there and not play and go to sleep, some nights it takes 15 minutes some it takes 30, but she is getting the hang of it and we are so thankful to be back to our regularly scheduled programming of an early bed time for her which is about 7pm.

A lot of people asked why we couldn't push her bed time back or cut out her nap all together to get her down earlier but here is a look at our day & why neither of those things would really work for us:

5am -- my alarm goes off & I'm in the shower
5:30 -- Joe is getting up and so is Georgia, so she is up bright & early every week day - Joe gets her dressed (I lay her outfit out the night before) which is a huge help for me.
6am -- we are out the door and headed to daycare by 6-6:10am
7am -- I have to be at work
11-12pm -- Georgia typically gets a nap somewhere in this ballpark range depending on her day and how it's going.
3:45pm -- I am picking her up from daycare
4pm -- we get home and I let her watch TV for a bit while I get the animals cared for, mail opened, dinner started or at least figured out
5 -- I'm usually cooking dinner at this time, Georgia is playing, TV is still helping me babysit while I take care of laundry, getting her stuff ready for the next day
6-6:30 -- I give her a bath, get her in jammies, and we head into the living room where we turn off all the lights and watch a little more TV or read and have quiet time.  We try not to let her get too riled up at this time
7pm - I'm usually heading with her into her room around 7 or a little after & she's typically been going down at 7:30 or 8 but we are slowly working back to a little earlier bed time.

This is why she cannot go without a nap yet, she is up too early and I can't expect her to make it the whole day without one.  I'd have to put her down around 5-5:30pm and that just isn't feasible in our lives.  It's also impossible for her to sleep in much later because we literally have to be out the door by 6am.  On the weekends she'll sleep til about 7-7:30 if I'm lucky, and I'm happy to get a couple more hours out of her on the weekends.

Overall the transition process was tough but it was because our timing literally sucked.  We did such a poor job of timing it with her being sick.  Every.single.day. I failed as a mother because I was sooooooo angry with her, with myself for choosing to do this at this time but the crib was already down and put away, I was going to bed angry and frustrated every night because she was protesting bed and I didn't know what to do.  We use white noise every night, we diffuse lavender, we use lavender in the tub, we have quiet time, she goes to bed with a full belly, she has no night lights... then on top of that I started giving her Zarbee's melatonin to get her to sleep which I believe helped a bit, but overall it just took her time to adjust and she needed to feel better.  I was desperate, exhausted, and truly just could not wait for whatever this phase was to be over. 

Although it was a very rough month and I hated bed time for weeks, I think the big girl bed is right for her.  As I said, she sleeps great in the bed, plus its nice because now we can lay down and sleep with her if necessary.  We skipped the "toddler" bed overall and went straight for a full size mattress on the floor and I think its been a great option for her for now.  Eventually Joe will build her the bed frame and she'll be up off the floor but this does help if she for some reason gets up or rolls off, she doesn't have a big fall.  We do have a gate at her door that we leave closed and her door is open so if for some reason she gets up and wanders she can't get out of her room, however that has not been an issue.  Also, our bedroom is right across the hall from hers so I can hear her and I sleep very light so I've never not heard her.  Even in my Nyquil induced nights when I was sick (I caught her stupid respiratory infection and fought it myself then for a couple weeks after her) I was able to hear her and tend to her just fine without incident.  If we were father away we'd use the monitor and still keep her gate closed with the door open.

So if you've stuck with me for all of this, in closing I will say, if your kid is doing fine in their crib, leave them there as long as possible.  Don't introduce unnecessary or too many transitions at once--we want to get rid of the paci and start potty training too, but we won't be dumping both of those on her at once otherwise we will all literally probably kill each other.  If you do decide to transition to a full size mattress, it may be wise to leave the crib up for a couple weeks incase you're regretting it and need to go back to the crib.  I wanted to every single day but we stuck to our guns and decided to keep the bed in place.  The number one question I get asked is how did I know Georgia was ready... I knew because she had always bedshared and that was what she was used to, the crib was not as desirable to her and it never really was.  She tolerated it for a few months, but that was it, tolerated it but didn't love it.  I can tell by how well she does in the bed that it's what is best for her.  I think she could've probably skipped a crib all together in all honesty.   If you're starting this transition I'd love to hear from you to know how you knew your child was ready, did you have any specific indications?  

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