Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Transition from the Crib

I started this post back on June 30. This is what I wrote then:

We have been putting Sweet Pea to bed in her crib for naps and night-time for about eight months now. She spent the first nine to ten months of her life sleeping in our room, either in our bed or in the sidecar co-sleeper, then we slowly moved to putting her down in her crib in her own room. Right now, she starts out the night in there, then comes to bed with us (sometime between 1:00 and 5:00 AM) and nurses occasionally through the rest of the night. We aim for bedtime by 10:00 PM, and hang out in the living room with her, nursing, rocking, and listening to her bedtime mix CD, until she falls asleep. Lately, Average has been able to get her to sleep by simply laying down on the couch with and holding her. Sometimes he falls asleep this way too, which pushes back our bedtime to later than we'd prefer. I feel like we could have an easier bedtime routine if we had an actual bed for her to sleep in in her own room. That way, one of us could lay down in there with her until she fell asleep, then sneak out. And the rest of the house wouldn't necessarily have to be dark and quiet the way it is now. Currently, whoever is not holding her while she falls asleep is either sitting in the dark living room, or hiding out in the bedroom with just a bedside light on. If she was falling asleep in her own room, one of us could be doing the dishes at the same time! Or paying bills! Or watching TV!

Yes, we have tried laying her down in her crib awake and she does not fall asleep this way. We are not willing to let her cry herself to sleep at this point.

Today, August 31:
A couple of weeks ago we got Sweet Pea a twin bed (mattress and box springs). Actually, my mom got it -- thanks Mom! We do plan to eventually get a frame for the bed, or perhaps Average will make one, but this saved us a lot of hassle and money for now, and the bed is low enough that she can climb in and out on her own, which I think is nice.

Now, ninety percent of the time, our routine goes like this:
  • After dinner, husband Average gives toddler Sweet Pea a bath. They play and laugh together.
  • Average gets Sweet Pea in an overnight diaper and footie pajamas, they might cuddle, read, or play for a few more minutes, then I take over.
  • Sweet Pea picks out a few books. This is new! Up to a month ago, she didn't really enjoy books, but now she loves them! And I love that.
  • We lay in her bed together and read books until I get tired of repeating the books or until she asks for milk. She now has both a hand sign and a verbal word.
  • She nurses until she falls asleep, then I get up and put the pillow on the outside edge of the bed to help prevent her from rolling off, turn on the monitor, and quietly leave the room. Or, sometimes she finishes nursing and we cuddle until she falls asleep. Or, she is too wound up to fall asleep, and I have to call for a sub. Average comes in and does his thing (rocking and music) and she falls asleep.
  • I go to bed in my own room, or go watch a movie, or finish cleaning up, or whatever.
I am really happy with this new arrangement. Sweet Pea ends up sleeping in her room for more time overall, and the whole house doesn't have to shut down to get her to sleep. In just a week or two, she has adjusted to this routine and is doing great with it. She even slept through the night last night! Eighteen months might seem a little early to move to a real bed, but it seems to be working out for us. I'm curious what other parents are doing. Please, share your stories in comments!


  1. Really really helpful post, Rose!!! Co-sleeping all night every night is getting old in our house and we want to transition him to some kind of other bed. I have been thinking about getting G a kiddy bed or building one, but then we wouldn't be able to lie down beside him like you are describing, which I love the idea of! Thanks again... I'll be thinking of ways we can transition G to his own bed! :-)

  2. Isn't it nice to have them sleeping in their own room and their own bed? Ethan's crib turned into a toddler bed and he love jumping up in it and putting his little head on his pillow. We check on him about 1 hour after he goes to sleep and sometimes he is asleep on the floor. He likes to get up and "read" or play before falling asleep. He's such a big boy!