Moving your child into their own bed/crib

Recommendations for moving an infant out of their parents' bed to their own crib...


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"As far as moving out of your bed goes I read a great piece of advice and used it and it worked like a charm. You move the crib into your room and push it all the way up against your side of the bed so that it acts like a cosleeper. This way your smell and sounds are still just as close. Then, every couple of nights, you move it a little further away, until it's as far as it will go and then move it into their room."

"He was sleeping really well until about 5 months or so, and then it all went out the window. we had occasional success getting him to fall back to sleep by giving him a pacifier in the middle of the night (we did not pick him up, just stuck it in his mouth, and sometimes he would fall right back to sleep.) Or if his mouth bothers him, sometimes we'll give him a frozen teething toy, which helps. Or occasionally Tylenol."

"I never (absolutely never) let my child sleep in bed with us. 2. At around 3 months we started to let him cry it out. And from that first night we let him cry and he has slept through the night almost consistently. Although there were intervals at which he woke in the middle we made sure he wasn't sick or teething and then let him cry it out to get back to sleep. 3. We do not give milk in the middle of the night unless he is sick. 4. Starting at around 6 months I made sure not to let him fall asleep on the breast during his last meal of the day just before bed. It was important that he learn to fall asleep on his own, in his crib. If he started to fall asleep I'd take him off the breast. Then if he wanted more I'd put him back on."

"You are going to have to work on putting him down in his own bed/room and you are going to have to start letting him cry it out. CIO. It can be the most difficult thing in the world for a mom to do, and seems to bring up many issues for people. But it is the only thing that really works."

"My pediatrician recommended that for that middle of the night feeding you have your husband/partner go to the baby (of course this only works if the child doesn't sleep with you I guess) with a bottle of water. That way the child learns if they get up in the middle of the night they don't "get the 'good' stuff and go back to sleep."


More advice from a January 2021 thread...

One member asks:

"I know that most advice is to hold out on transitioning out of the crib to a toddler bed for as long as possible. We've been fortunate enough that as for now, our 2.5 year old hasn't tried to climb out, but she's starting to think about it I fear (she pretends to when she wants me to stay in the room at bedtime). I'd like to know if it's as awful as it sounds (she can open her door now) or it's a solid step in her development/independence. I'm seeing there might be some benefits (maybe she'll get up on her own for middle of the night potty runs and it'll open up more bed options at the grandparents), but I'm also worried she's going to be in our room or climbing the furniture in hers.

Any advice or just personal experiences to put things in perspective/to consider would be greatly appreciated."


Members advise:

"My son started climbing out of the crib at 18 months, and dropping the mattress to the floor only bought us a few more months of crib bliss, so he was in a toddler bed before he hit 2.

It was much easier than I anticipated, and he slept through the night pretty much every night until we moved into our new apartment last month, and now he's climbing into bed with us every night/morning.

It's different for every kid. I say go for it."


"I am so glad we didn’t wait to transition to the toddler bed! We did it right at 2 years and it made bedtime so much easier for us. I much prefer to lay down in bed with her and read her a book rather than do so on a rocking chair and then transition. Didn’t have any issues with her climbing out and being rambunctious. There were a handful of times that she tried to open her door in the middle of the night but when she was that drowsy she didn’t have the strength to do it, so she would knock on the door and we’d go in and put her back to sleep. I know every child is different so your experience may not be the same, but just to say it’s not always a painful experience! Good luck.'

"I also dreaded the transition but we finally bit the bullet around 2 yrs 4 months. My son had climbed out a few times, so we dropped the mattress to the ground for a few months. We picked a weekend because we figured we’d be up several times walking him back to his room. A few days in advance we started talking about his big boy bed. The night before I introduced an ok to wake clock - I showed him how he could turn it on and that it would turn green when it was ok for him to come out of his room but until then he had to stay in his room.

The first two nights we watched on the monitor and he got out of bed and ran around, grabbed his toys, read books etc but eventually got back in bed. He also came up to the door several times and we could hear him grabbing the handle but he actually never came out once. Two months later, he is still so excited to come in our room in the morning and tell us that his clock is green and wants us to come look at it."

"We transitioned to a toddler bed before my daughter turned two because she climbed out of the crib and injured herself at 19 months. Because of this I think cribs are kind of dangerous after a certain age! Transition was seamless. She was super excited. I was excited not to have to come into her room in the middle of the night anymore and I taught her to climb into my bed quietly and not wake me up. But if having a second kid has taught me anything it is that every baby/kid/family’s needs are different.

And my daughter stopped climbing into our bed at night on her own the day we brought her baby brother home because even little kids are like, 'newborns be crazy.'"

"We are in a similar position as you are (our son is 3, we just made the crib -> bed transition together with night potty training). I'm here to tell you it might not be bad. I was super panicked, as evident from a separate PSP 2017 thread....but it has been great. We made sure to add all the anti-tip stuff we had been putting off and generally childproofed.

We talked up the bed for a week or so before (like with pottytraining) and introduced the bed before nap so we had a test run. We reintroduced his Summer Infant training toilet to his bedroom letting him know he could use it if he needed to go. He absolutely got up and explored, including taking a massive poop in the toilet during that naptime, but has generally stayed in bed since with the exception of getting books.

We also added a lock to his door (liked this one that it could be opened by an adult from either side to prevent accidental lock-in) and explained to him that it's 'to keep him safe' but he never really questioned it or tries to leave. It feels wrong to lock him in at night, but i do feel more secure knowing he can't get out and explore the apt because we can't realistically encase every danger.

Go for it. And good luck!"


And more from a December 2021 thread, with an emphasis on keeping the crib as long as possible...


One member asks:

"We are getting ready to free our son from the confines of his crib and I’m more than a little nervous. He’s an amazing sleeper, happy to go to bed every night, sleeps peacefully, wakes up quietly and happy, not eager to disturb that set up, but I think it’s time. He won’t be moving into a new bed which I hope helps, his crib converts to a toddler bed but other than that haven’t done much preparing and thought I’d consult with this amazing crew to hear any tips for success or things to avoid?

We always talk with him before a big transition to help him get ready, so I’m imagining some conversations about the upcoming change but don’t really have much else in mind…any recommendations? Oh and I was thinking about waiting until after the holidays, visitors, a trip upstate, general disruptions to his routine. So probably doing this once we’re settled in again after all of that."


Members advise...

"Unless he climbed out on his own, keep the crib as long as possible! Especially more so since he’s also a great sleeper. My five year old climbed out at 3 years old, two weeks after my second was born. She has been getting into our bed most nights ever since. Keep him in there as long as possible. Just my sleepless two cents :)"


"I wouldn’t move him unless he was climbing out. My first daughter stayed in her crib till almost 4 because she never climbed out."


"We transitioned our son in October (when he was 27 months) after he managed to climb/jump/fall out - fortunately without injury. Some of this may depend on your kiddo, but our little guy tends to have a fairly adaptable personality in general, so we took the tack that you already seem to have in mind - we explained to him he was ready for a big boy bed, showed him a picture of our crib-to-bed model earlier that day (also sounds similar to your own crib/toddler bed) to plant the idea, and then that night without too much fuss but with some excited cheering on, took out the crib side and replaced it with the safety rail, asking him to 'help' with some of the hardware parts so he participated. He was both curious and excited, and went to bed and slept soundly that night and there really wasn’t any transition issue. Each kid is different of course, but that’s how we handled it."


"If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. ...keep him there as long as possible. If he starts to climb out, that’s a different story.
My son, now 6.5, was a great crib sleeper. When we transitioned to a toddler bed at 2.5, which just meant taking the bars off, he stopped being able to fall asleep on his own. He suddenly needed us to stay with him until he fell asleep and/ or he’d come into our bed.
We just broke him out of that habit this year!! Ugh.
His sister, now 2.5, still sleeps in a sleep sack in her crib. Our thought is that we’ll keep her in the crib until we move in February. And when we do transition, we’ll prob add rails to mimic the enclosure of the crib. Fingers crossed that works!"


"We intended to move my 2.5 year old out of her crib because she's been asking for a 'real bed' and we will soon move our baby into the room as well and will need a crib. We even got a toddler bed, but put it off because we had a trip with multiple stops, so keeping her in the travel crib for that was easier. Once we came back, we planned to switch, but we have been having a few issues and I started looking back at the course we took on Big Little Feelings. Their transitioning video starts with just that - don't do it! They said it's best to transition between 3 and 4, unless they start climbing out of the crib. Apparently younger kids aren't at the developmental stage to understand they need to stay in the bed (although I know several two year olds who are perfectly able to do that).

For now, our toddler bed is in storage and we'll be sticking with the crib."


"Agree! Keep the crib as long as possible. We only moved my older kid out of necessity- we moved into my mom’s temporarily when he was 2yrs 9 mo and it was too much to move the crib with us. Plus I was pregnant so figured we’d be moving him out of it soon enough. He did not want to go into a single bed (we did a single with a rail) so we gave him the option of bed or pack and play for a while. He kept choosing pack and play until one night he asked to bring a toy into bed for sleep time. We said he could do pack and play with no toy or bed with toy. He chose the bed. And that was that. However! We then had a long stretch of him getting out of his bed and popping up next to ours at all hours of the night. It was terrifying! The door of his room didn’t shut well which is why he was able to get out and we ended up putting a lock type thing on the door, something made for pets to be able to get in and out while having the door stay mostly shut. So he could see out but not actually get out. I know that probably sounds insane but our pediatrician kept saying it was a safety issue for him to be roaming around. Her suggestion (after we had already done the pet lock) was to get a baby gate. Which in hindsight I like the sound of much better. He did a lot of calling at the door for us in the middle of the night and we would calmly go to him and tell him it was bedtime, direct him to look at the ready to wake clock and get back in bed. After a while he stopped getting out of bed and would only call once it was morning time from his bed. I can’t remember how long that took. Maybe a few weeks?

Anyway, that is all to say, if you can keep the crib, I vote to keep it!"


"We took the bed frame off so the mattress was directly on the floor. Gave us 2 extra weeks before he figured out how to muscle himself over. Worth a shot!"


"My daughter climbed out of the crib pretty early, and we just made the switch and talked through it afterwards. Honestly, she was excited and adjusted well. It helped to get her a pillow and set of new sheets. But I agree with everyone else that I would only switch if your kid is at risk of escaping the crib."


"I moved E to a twin bed with foam bumpers on the sides because I want to use her crib for #2, and I didn’t want her to see #2 as stealing her crib. I acted like the big bed was a special gift, and I maintained the same bedtime routine otherwise.

There have been several nights where she fussed and demanded to sleep in my bed. Especially when she started daycare and we switched au pairs. However, for the most part she just got accustomed to her new bed. I can hear her very well from my room, and I have cameras to keep an eye on her, but I have a child safety lock on her door so she can’t wander around the apartment without my knowledge. When she knocks on the door or calls for me, I lay down next to her for a bit, and then I sneak out again."


"Both of mine started climbing out around 2.5 and stayed in the crib way beyond. My older was 3.8 when we switched to a big bed. My little one can climb out but knows not to. All this to say… definitely keep in until as close to 4 as possible, especially if they’re not climbing out!"


"Agreed with the above! We moved our kid way too soon. She's tall enough to climb out but hasn't yet. She started sleeping terribly after being a great sleeper. We since put her back in crib, things haven't improved, but she is way way happier with those four walls around her. Development from 2.5-3.5 is so so intense! They have so so much going on. Best to keep what you can consistent."


"Our first transitioned to a bed around 3 years old unintentionally during the pandemic/at her grandparents house and while she's very routine- and rules-oriented, we spent months gently guiding her back to bed and explaining the rules/limits like a broken record. She just didn't have the self-control not to hop out of bed (sticker charts did not work for us either). It wasn't until she was closer to 3.5 that she decided staying in bed was fine -- probably the lack of excitement being back at home helped as well.

We're hoping my son doesn't attempt the climb anytime soon. We'll keep him in his crib as long as he (physically) fits into it!!"


"I transitioned my first at 2yr3m because I woke up at 34w pregnant and realized that post partum I would be unlikely to be able to get him out! My second we transitioned a couple of weeks ago at 30m (I am expecting again in Feb). Both went quite easily and has not affected their sleeping patterns. With my second he does come out of the bed a bit after we put him to sleep but after two weeks now he seems to be not so excited by this concept any longer. On the worst nights it was 30m of redirecting to bed in the evening. My oldest has had periods where he tries to crawl in with us, but we give him a hug and put him back to bed and that blows over pretty quickly. Be warned, you might also have a toddler starting you in the eye as you wake! :) I highly recommend the hatch light for getting them to stay in bed in the morning until you're ok with them coming out... In transition you definitely want to show the excitement of the new big kid bed, and make sure they can't get around the house or to things where you're uncomfortable with them having access to alone. Be consistent with your messaging; 'this is sleeping time' and have a little patience if you have to redirect them a bit. I recommend not getting lazy and allowing them to crawl in with you, as thats hard to break. I found with both of my kids that it increased their confidence and interest in being self-sufficient and they quickly began doing (or was interested in doing) more things on their own. For us it worked just fine!"


"Just here to add my +1 for keeping your kiddo in the crib till he climbs out and you have to move him. Once that does happen though I highly recommend one of those Ikea beds that pull out to a queen or king in case you ever have to keep him company for the night (we got one from a friend and boy has that been nice). Additionally I would say if you sleep trained just follow the same method IF there is a sleep disruption (there might not be especially if you transition when they're older and ready for it emotionally). Our kiddo climbed out at 20m (he's enormous so I'm surprised he made it that long even) and the first week was slightly challenging. He completely rejected his toddler bed that was converted from the crib and slept on the floor few times which we let him cause what's the harm right? We then got then twin/pull out bed and he got used to that really quickly albeit he has had some off nights where he gets out and fusses but he gets back in on his own ok. We removed all the toy access save some stuffies so that he can't just leave bed and play all night cause he would do that. We also just made sure that his entire bedroom was secured and baby proofed to the max. We toyed with the idea of putting a gate on his door but he hasn't mastered getting out of the room yet so it hasn't been an issue. He sleeps really well in his big boy bed now, almost 4m later so really just that first week was a little challenging but I can't say it was that big of a deal especially if you're willing to accept them getting out of bed and falling asleep in a random place in the room while they get used to their new set up."


"We just went through this as our daughter figured out how to climb out of her crib a week before her 2nd birthday. We watched her climb out of her crib while rejecting a nap.

We immediately converted her crib to the toddler setting and sold it to her as her 'big girl bed.' This happened over Thanksgiving while visiting her grandparents (where she has the same crib as at home) and there were stairs to worry about so we installed a lock on the door to prevent her from leaving the room. At first she hated that we were leaving her and it took a long time to wait it out and then go back to reassure her for a few days. There were plenty of protests with pulling on the door and demanding she be released etc., but she eventually adapted and started crawling back in to her bed. In the mornings we really played up how great it was that she was doing the big girl thing and talked about how she could tell her teachers and friends about it to get her bought in.

Now we're back home and we've replicated the same setting - including the lock that keeps her from leaving the room. At first it was really hard (for her and for us) but our approach has been that she was already accustomed to being constrained by the crib (therefore confining her to her entire room is really a step up) so we have tried to manage it with her as if nothing that big has changed and this is still just her time and space to rest her body. We still follow the same bedtime routine where she's on her own after the customary books + song. In the mornings she comes to her door and we see/hear her through the monitor so we're re-adjusting the Hatch settings to connect light on = ok to get up."