Any time I write about any type of transition, it makes me think of the David Bowie song “Changes.” Bowie’s “Under Pressure” is another one that comes to mind. Depending on how well you handle it, change can often make you feel like you are under pressure. And trust me, the transition from bassinet, to crib, to a big kid bed can be a tricky one. But, as with anything ‘sleep’, if you have a solid plan in place for WHAT and HOW you are going to make the transition, you are setting yourself up for success!
With any sleep transition, it is best to make it at night. Because sleep pressure slowly builds throughout the day for nighttime sleep, and with night comes an increase of melatonin levels (the hormone that helps us sleep), the drive to sleep is much higher at night than during the day. This could mean less protesting from your little one about the impending bed transition. Keep in mind that it is totally normal for your little one to protest during these changes as they are not used to their new sleeping environment.
Just because the drive to sleep is higher at night, this does not mean we make the transition only at night. It means we start at night and head into naps the following day. Don’t be discouraged if there is more protesting during the day – remember, the sleep pressure isn’t quite as high!
To assist with the transition out of the bassinet, refer to the user manual to confirm the maximum weight and age for your particular bassinet. Most bassinets have a weight limit of 15 to 20 lbs. However, weight should not be the only consideration for when to transition, as your baby may be developmentally ready before reaching the weight limit. Also, make sure the bassinet you are using is truly a bassinet and not a sleeper. Anything labeled “sleeper” means it did not meet the safety standards to be labeled a bassinet!
Your little one will most likely be in a crib from four (or so) months to the time they are ready to move to a toddler bed. I don’t recommend making the toddler bed transition until at least three years old, and have seen some parents wait even longer. There is no rush to make this transition happen. Remember, with this transition comes more freedom because your child can now get out of bed.
With either of these transitions, what is most important is consistency. After making a transition, there may be protesting because your child wants to go back to the old way of doing things. However, it is important to push forward; specifically, with the transition from bassinet to crib. Trust me, your little one will eventually adjust.
As I mentioned previously, there is no need to rush to the big kid bed. If your little one doesn’t seem ready for the freedom, don’t make the transition. Also, just in case the transition doesn’t go smoothly, I recommend hanging on to the crib; you may find you need to bring it back.
If you the reason you are moving your toddler to a big kid bed is because you have another little one on the way, let me suggest another option. Consider having your new baby sleep in a pack’n’play until your toddler is ready to make the transition to a big kid bed. Bringing home a new baby can be a big enough transition without adding another on to it!
With any change, consistency is your best friend. If we move away from what we have historically done to address protesting or night wakings, the greater the chance for a regression.
If you have specific questions about how to make the transition, my email package is a great resource to find those answers!