Successfully Transitioning into a Big Kid Bed with Naturepedic
Sleep. So important, yet as mamas we get so little of it (unless you are one of those very, very lucky ones that got an amazing sleeper from the get-go). Now, as being a mama the 2nd time around, I am trying not to make the same mistakes that I did with my first. N was an “awful” sleeper at around 6/7 months, and after talking to a friend (self-proclaimed as a sleep obsessed mama), she helped me get him on a schedule. Do yourself a favor and Google “baby awake times” to get a good schedule for your little one. Her Bible is The Baby Sleep Site and there are plenty of free resources to set up your little ones for sleep success. Now N is napping at least 4-5 hours a day and only waking up once at night to eat. Life. Changing. In addition to the schedule we put him on, we have been using a marpac Dohm (best sound machine ever), Naturepedic mattress (organic and so comfy), and HALO SleepSack.
Ok, so this post isn’t about my good little 8 month old sleeper. But I did feel like I needed to throw out some quick tips as a PSA, as I believe we didn’t initially set a great foundation for our 4 year old to be a great sleeper. We actually hired a sleep consultant when she was 2, as she was waking up several times a night (and mommy and daddy were zombies for months and months). I even considered putting her in a big girl bed at this point. The consultant said, “NO WAY!” She shared that age 3.5-4 was an ideal time. This surprised me but it’s been something that has stuck with me since she was 2. So, just a month before A turned 4, we decided to take the big girl bed plunge! I should also note that I read to make the transition as smooth as possible, it’s best to avoid making the switch during other major transitions… so that’s why we opted to wait several months after baby brother arrived.
Luckily, we bought a Dolce Babi convertible crib, so finding a bed wasn’t even a thought. But a mattress was a different story. I read that “babies and toddlers spend 10-14 hours a day sleeping and playing on a crib mattress. As such, for the first few years of a child’s life, the mattress is the single most prominent object in the child’s environment.” You can read more about the benefits of an organic mattress here. I had just gotten N a Naturepedic crib mattress, and after seeing the quality and comfort of it, I knew I wanted the same for A. We opted for the Verse organic mattress in full size (it’s a big bed for a 30 lb girl, but at least we won’t have to upgrade to a bigger size in a few years!)
A couldn’t be more excited about her big girl bed. I think 95% of her friends already had a big kid bed at this point, so it was something that she was really looking forward to. I actually put the bed together myself on a cold January day. The mattress came rolled up in a box and the hubs and I put it on easily. I couldn’t believe the comfort and quality of this bed. Seriously, I asked A if she wanted to switch, haha!
What’s the first thing that a 4 year old will do when you put together their big kid bed? JUMP JUMP JUMP! A got really sick with an ear infection a few weeks into having the bed, and I ended up staying in her bed with her so she could sleep (another bonus of a full size bed). I can say that this bed is SO comfortable. No wonder she had been sleeping so well. I think the excitement alone and a consistent routine (similar to her previous one – but reading in her bed vs. the glider for example, but kept things consistent like her night light & sound machine) made for an awesome transition into the big girl bed to start. We let her pick out some fun accessories for her new big girl bed, talked about it all the time, used her bed to play and snuggle on and made it a really positive experience. In hindsight, I would have bought some books ahead of time too, as A is really receptive to books. Some ideas are Your Own Big Bed, A Bed of Your Own, and Big Enough for a Bed (Sesame Street). I had gotten like 10 potty training books, so not sure why I didn’t do this with the bed, but it didn’t seem to matter, as she was just SO excited about it.
Then, she got another ear infection and we were back at square one. I’m talking 2-3 wake ups a night, sneaking into our bed (and I was too tired to realize!) JUST. GO. TO. SLEEP… pleeeeeeeease. Literally, she was waking up twice as much as our then 7 month old.
We tried everything – bribes from ice cream to toys (whatever it takes, right?)… allowing our dog to stay in her room… threatening to bring the crib back (which she laughed at). Ultimately, we realized that she actually had another ear infection (how does a child not get one for four years, and then get two in the same month?!) and that’s why she was waking. I should mention there were no signs of this ear infection besides her randomly telling us “my ear hurt a minute ago” (we had taken her to the doctor about this and they had said it was likely molar teething!!!) I may be rambling here, but another PSA to try to rule out all reasons why your kiddo might be waking!
Waiting until there are signs your kid(s) are ready, showing excitement (that they are a part of), a consistent routine, and a wonderful sleeping environment (comfy mattress, clothes, bedding, dark room, and sound machine) can make for a wonderful transition. I hope that we are finally instilling great sleep habits for this awesome little girl… as we ALL need our sleep! Sweet dreams!