Mommy Knows Best…

My eldest daughter Mabel has turned three. And with the big 3 in our sights we knew that would be when we made the transition from crib to bed . I’d been feeling some low-grade anxiety about making this change for some time. And with the comments and pressure of others saying ”I can’t believe she’s still in her crib,” well I pushed all that aside because no ones knows the kind of sleeper we have and why the crib has been so important for us.

I consulted with a sleep specialist Jennifer Waldburger, co-owner of Sleepy Planet . She’s helped me gently and successfully with Mabel and our sleep issues for the past year and a half. She gave me some tips to making this transition a successful and exciting event rather than a stressful one. Here are a few:

I was on pins and needles to see how the rest of the night would unfold...

Get a simple twin bed and box spring. No bed frame, toddler, or princess bed. And don’t refer to it as a “big girl bed.” We just called it Mabel’s new bed.

Magic Bumper’s keep her not just safe but with a new larger mattress/space to get used to, it brings the boundaries in. Something that she has grown accustom to since being in a crib for so long.

Two bed rails . One for the head (like a headboard) and the other for the side. Unless you can (preferably) push the bed into a corner then you would just need one rail for the side. Mabel’s room didn’t allow for that.

A high safety gate in front of her bedroom door. To me this was so important to make this process successful. The thought of Mabel being able to roam around the house freely at night sent chills up my spine. And she would never sleep in her own bed if she knew she could just simply leave her room at any point of the night.

The first night was a lot of back and forth till about 8:30pm. She’s normally in bed asleep by 7:30pm. So not bad, but I was on pins and needles to see how the rest of the night would unfold. She was struggling with the idea of this new sense of freedom and just that something new was taking place in her life. So we stayed around for lots of extra kisses and cuddles in her new bed. We are now almost a week in and I can happily say its been an easy and pretty painless transition.

I’m happy I waited and didn’t cave into the pressure of others telling me to move her to a bed. I don’t think this process would have been so painless if I would have done it sooner. We sure do know what’s best for our children and their needs. So remember to never second guess that 🙂

How did your experience go with transitioning your child from a crib to a bed?


From my home to yours,

Emma xx

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Monica says:

This is so helpful to read. I have a 2 1/2 year old little guy. I worry that I should be transitioning him to a bed instead of crib but I don’t feel like we are ready. Reading your post reminded me to trust my instincts.

As I still haven’t sleep trained to the point of him going to sleep on his own I am even more worried of the bed transition. Right now I rock him to sleep. I feel so bad doing the cry it out method. It was hard enough just to get him to sleep through the night. Not everyone has this struggle. I’m proud that I’ve managed to keep him in his own bed!

Emma Heming Willis says:

Only you will know when he’s ready. You really have to follow your gut! Good luck 🙂

CJ says:

We have Never used a crib with our girls (4 years and 2 months.) They go from the cradle into our bed. Now we’re trying to evict our eldest into her own room, but she’s not having it.

Good luck with your transition!

Emma Heming Willis says:

There’s no better place than Mommy and Daddy’s bed! But I don’t sleep so well anymore with her feet in my face :/

Irene says:

My son was in his crib until he was 4 & the entire city had a comment about that! so stressful – we finally thought his bride won’t be able to fit in there so we had to transition – it worked fine in one night & he’s not robbing banks while we’re all asleep

Emma Heming Willis says:

haha that’s funny! happy it worked out successfully xx

cyndi says:

I have 8 kids…22,21,20,19,17,7 who on the 23rd will be 8,2 on the 23rd will be 3 and a 2 year old, but i still have a toddler bed and crib in my room with our california king bed and i try to put the youngest 2 in the crib and bed to start but if they cry i usually cave in and lay with them in my bed, if they happen to fall asleep in their own bed, by morning they wind up in my bed with their blankets and dolls and bottles lol it gets pretty crowded. Im not in a hurry for them to grow up, I have grown children and you look back at stuff like this and you miss it, so im not rushing anything, go with your gut and try to not listen to others cause in the end its you and your husband who have to deal with the outcome, not everyone else lol

xoxo Cyndi

Emma Heming Willis says:

So true Cyndi. Thank you for sharing. Enjoy those cuddles in bed with your babies. There is nothing better 🙂

Kell says:

Lately I have been feeling like such a failure as a mother who doesn’t know anything, because of how my girls sleep (still with me the majority of the time and my baby still doesn’t fall asleep on her own. They are 1 and 3.) I dont ever tell anyone because i don’t know how they will react or judge me (and yes, I have eveb lied to the pediatrician when she nodded her head and said “yes, she sleeps in her own bed?!) this post, and all the comments were like an answer to a prayer and took a weight off my shoulders. Its not an ideal sleeping arrangement but it works for us and gives my girls a great night’s sleep. I mistakenly think everyone is doing things the “right” way and I’m over here struggling and doing it wrong, but posts like these show me there’s not perfect and right way! Thanks for sharing!!!!!!!

Emma Heming Willis says:

This was one of the main reasons I started this blog. I was feeling so down on myself because I felt like everyone else had it all figured out. I got to thinking like, really? Everyone is doing it all with no problems? So I’ve put out a lot of situations regarding my kids where I’ve felt I’ve fallen short.
Don’t worry. You are doing the best for you and your family. It’s what works for you and no one should say a thing about it. Because when they do it just adds to the fire. Just know you are not alone. xxxx

Krysta says:

I have a 2 1/2 year old little girl. She never slept in her crib, we tried and tried and TRIED! She moves around SOOOOOO much, we finally decided to use a twin mattress with a rail. She’s been sleeping on that for a year and a half now, most the time through the night. When she doesn’t I just lay beside her until she falls back asleep. It’s worked out well! Good luck!

Emma Heming Willis says:

That’s good to hear!! Knock on wood, it’s been working well for us too! 🙂

Lesa Kay says:

I’m so happy that you didn’t give in to “parent pressure”! Every child is so wonderfully unique that NO one, especially childless experts (have you met one of them yet?), should pretend to know what is best for your children. Only you and Daddy know that. I did co-sleeping. We never owned a crib. My youngest daughter, who just celebrated her 5th birthday, began the sleeping on her own adventure when she was two-three. We bought her a twin bed, put it in a corner (like you suggested) and put a safety rail on one side. I stopped breast feeding at 2.5 years, and she weened herself. I think I had a harder time than she did. We did transition to a sippy cup at night. Her blood sugar drops and she waked up thirsty for milk. Everyone told me to stop that, but my gut told me that if she didn’t need something to drink at night, she wouldn’t be waking up. I was right, and discovered that if I’d kept the milk from her, she might have experienced dangerously low blood sugar! The sippy cup, knowing that I would come if she called me and a sound maker (she listens to rainfall) helped tremendously! I don’t think there is one way to do anything, and as long as you do it with LOTS o’ LOVE! 🙂

Roxanne says:

Hi Emma. I am glad that Mabel had an easy transition to a twin bed. It is so easy to just cave in to what people are telling you to do just to keep them quiet. If I had a nickel for everytime someone told me I was doing it wrong I would be a millionaire! Lol. Your doing a great job sticking with your instincts. I had it easy with both of my boys. We used the bunk beds that were mine when I was a kid, without the ladder of course. ( now I am using them for my granddaughter ) We used a small blanket tucked under the top bunk that covered the front half of the bed so it was kind of like a tent. We read Green Eggs and Ham and then we said goodnight with lots of hugs and kisses and it was lights out. He went right to sleep. He was three. We also had a gate so he couldn’t wander. With our other son it was just as easy except he was two. He was really wanting to sleep in a bed like his big brother so we took the bunk beds apart and used them as two single beds. We read Are You My Mother and got our good night hugs and kisses and they went to bed. I was really blessed having it so easy with both of them. Once again I want to thankyou and tell you I really enjoy your blog. It’s great to share with all of you and read your stories and tips. Happy Birthday to little miss Mabel. She is so cute. Hard to believe she is three already. You blink and another year has gone by. Until next time, take care and be happy. 🙂

Cindy Blatt says:

I have a 2year old grand who will soon be joining the ranks of having his own bed. I will share these tips with my daughter in law, better yet I will send her a link to your blog. Thanks for sharing. Also don’t let anyone tell you what to do regarding what is best for your child. You know your baby better than anyone. My grandson will was in his crib until he was 3. It work for them. He is 9 and of course has his own bed and wasn’t traumatized by being in a crib until he was three. Enjoy the moments!

Julia-Selina says:

Hi Emma,

First of, the cake is so great. That reminds me of the word ‘Spider Girl’ a. ^_^

That with the bed rails I find not bad. That I will give to my brother and sister in law further. Although My niece is still not so far, but time goes by so quickly. ^_^

Kiss and Hugs Julia

Nicole says:

My son, Noah, slept in his crib until he just turned 3 years old. We didn’t see the need to move him into a twin bed before that because he never tried to climb out. Whenever he’d wake up he’d just talk to his Mr. Bear or sing/babble until we got up and got him out. But soon after our daughter was born we decided that it was time and we did refer to it as big boy bed but that’s what got him to want to sleep in there and overall he took to it really well. In the beginning it was hard to keep him in bed because he loved the idea of getting in and out of bed whenever he wanted and we’d just walk him back to his room. Now he sleeps beautifully through the night without any problems. 🙂 But I also didn’t have the pressure from people around me. They were more like “if he doesn’t try to get out of his crib, leave him in there for as long as possible. 😉 I hope Mabel loves her bed as much as Noah does!

Emma Heming Willis says:

Love your support group around you! Yes, Mabel has taken to her bed nicely. Some nights she’ll test the waters with getting up but for the most part it was an easy transition.

Kelly says:

What a great blog you have created! Just found it today, and can’t stop reading! I am coming to find out that “mom-friends” (whether you know them personally or not) are so important in being a mother. To learn from their experiences or even just have a reassuring pat on the back every now and then, so valuable! Keep up the good work.
My daughter just turned 2 so we are in no rush to move her to a “real” bed. But how did you know when it was time? Were there signs developmentally? Thanks! :o)

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