transitioning our toddler to a big girl bed | with lucid and dockAtot
This post is shared in partnership with LUCID and DockATot. Items were gifted but product choices and all opinions are my own.
I've been asked so much recently about transitioning Nora to a big girl bed, so here we go! I'll start by saying, every child is different. Every child thrives/lives/sleeps differently. What works for us may not be the case for you and your little! And it may not even be the case for when we transition Mabel... There are so many different variations of "normal," so don't compare! But because so many have asked to share our experience, here it is :)
A little bit of background because like I said, everyone's situation is SO different. For eight months it was just Nora, myself and big-pregnant-belly full of Mabel while DJ was away training for the Army. During this time we were in a tiny one bedroom apartment (literally the size of our current master bedroom), so I had to be creative in how Nora slept (we moved into this place days before DJ was shipped out). At first, I just made the bedroom hers, and she slept great in her crib (she was only 9 months old still). But then I moved my bed into the room after a few months so we could have an actual living room area since she started walking and needed more room to play.
Suddenly she hated the crib. She'd wake up unhappy and go down unhappy. I finally just started bringing her into my bed because she was just miserable (we both were) from crying so much. But then niether of us slept well. She was happier but we both got in each others way because she's a crazy sleeper apparently and I'm a light sleeper. I tried putting her back in the crib and that was a total joke. And then it broke lol. I think IKEA actually ended up discontinuing the crib too (I know several people who had the same thing happen, where the bottom just falls out). I wasn't sure what to do because there really wasn't anywhere I could put her in her own space until we moved. For a while I ended up putting her in the travel crib in the corner of the living room with blankets covering the sides but it still wasn't ideal because after 7pm I was just stuck to the bedroom and couldn't make a peep in the kitchen/bathroom/living room or she'd wakeup (even with white noise).
Anyways -- we moved! Into our first real house with a bedroom that would be Nora's. A dream come true! We didn't want to buy another crib for her, so we decided to just go for the big girl bed. My plan was to just have the mattress on the floor to eliminate the risk of her falling, but then I found her vintage bed frame for $12 and couldn't pass it up! We set it on the very lowest setting and she can climb up and down herself. Her mattress is super soft and the perfect size. I decided to go with a twin bed over a toddler size, because the toddler size felt wasteful to me! It would only be used for a short time, whereas a twin will last several years.
We have a DockATot Grand that keeps her from rolling off and she actually really loves it. What's great about it, is it can go anywhere and she could sleep in it anywhere and it's consistent. I've even had the DockATot downstairs on the hardwood floor and put her in it to nap from falling asleep in the car. It's pretty fantastic! I prefer it over a rail because we can use it in our bed, on the couch, on the floor, a hotel; wherever and still have sleeping consistency for her. She's able to sleep without it, and often we do without for naps lately, but at night she's rolled off twice so we just make sure she goes to bed in the Dock at night and she sleeps soundly and doesn't fuss!
When the LUCID mattress first came, we let Nora be part of the process so she felt involved. It comes rolled up tightly in a box delivered right to your porch (so cool). DJ brought it into her room and we had her "help" pull it out and unwrap the plastic. She loved jumping on it as it filled with air! She was really giddy and even grabbed a blankie she sleeps with and snuggled down saying "night night" as it was unfolding; needless to say she loved it and knew it was for her!
I feel like our transition went so well and easily because we had SO MUCH other transition going on, it was kind of just perfect timing to go for it, and she's just adapted wonderfully. So that's really it. We have always had a bedtime routine; dinner, bath, book, lights out. We just kept with that when we put her to bed and she showed no signs of fear or confusion. She doesn't get up through the night. We keep her door shut, and come get her at the same time every morning. She gets up out of the bed in the mornings and brings books to her bed and "reads" them or brings up her dollies. It's the cutest thing and I love spying on her independent play through the baby monitor. When we get her in the AM she greets us happily and we just love it! So grateful for both our LUCID mattress and DockATot Grand, they've both made this transition cozy and seamless!
Nora loves her bed and knows it's for "night-night." I think it gives her a really healthy independence. Some babies thrive in cribs and sleep better, whereas some sleep better feeling less restricted and having more freedom. It's been a very smooth and peaceful transition, and I think that's key with any transition; keeping it light and positive! If your babe/toddler sense that you're tense and fearful, they will be too. Keep it positive and exciting, and any transition is likely to go much smoother!
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