Sleeping Stages: Phasing your Baby from Crib to Cot

Baby sleeping in crib

There really is nothing sweeter than seeing your little one fall into a peaceful slumber. However, soon your angel will become more vocal, as well as more independent during the night. Nappy changes along with feeding will also become less frequent. What does that mean? It means it’s time to tackle the big sleeping milestone – transitioning from crib to cot!  

Change can be strange, and whilst this process sounds a little scary, we’re here to tell you it’s actually a smoother transition than you think! There are probably a million questions running through your mind, like what age should a baby move from Moses basket to cot or when to move from cot to bed?  

Don’t worry though! We’ve got all the answers for you and a ton of expert advice, to make the switch as easy as pie. So, lets bite the bullet together and get your teeny tot into their cot!  

Baby kneeling in cot bed whilst surrounded by their beautiful nursery

Breaking the habit  

Making the move from crib to cot can sometimes cause sleep regression, and extended periods of co-sleeping. No one sets out to co-sleep with their child for life, but we understand it can be difficult to break the habit. When your little rebel engages in sleep strikes at this stage, it’s probably because their cot is unfamiliar territory.  

The sleep regression signs to look out for include: 

  • More regular night waking 
  • Trouble falling asleep 
  • Increased fussiness  
  • Opposing naps 

By phasing your baby through the various stages, such as transitioning to a cot, you can help to reduce the chances of sleep regression. Other things you can do include creating a calm environment and maintaining a stable bedtime routine – even through the transition.  

What age should a baby move from Moses basket to cot? 

Baby smiling in Moses basket

The Lullaby Trust, gurus on safer sleeping for babies, advise that little ones should sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket, in your room, until they’re 6 months old. This includes quick snoozes during the day, as well as night-time sleeps. This is the safest option, as it allows you, to always keep an eye on your precious angel. 

After 6 sweet months with your tot have passed, and they’re able to push up onto their hands and knees and sit unaided, you can begin the move from crib to cot. We know a lot of mummies will be sad to part with their little sleeping buddy.  

But remember – it means less eyebags, and more peaceful nights of snoozing coming your way! Most babies should take to the change of environment easily. However, we’ve got a few tips and tricks up our sleeves, to make the transition a little smoother:  

  1. Familiarise them with their nursery  
    The nursery you spent all that time on to make it look perfect, with its little yellow ducky wallpaper, and abundance of cute, fluffy teddies, needs to be shown off! So, utilise it to its maximum, for tasks like nappy changes and feeding. This will help your bub get used to their sanctuary. Doing this from when they’re a teeny tiny newborn, means their nursery will already be a familiar space.  
  2. Take your time  
    Ease them into the transition first. Put your babe down into their cot for daytime naps a few times, before you tackle a full night’s sleep. This helps them get used to the idea of sleeping independently. 
  3. Cosy does it 
    You want your baby to be as cosy and comfortable as possible. So, if the cot bedding is new, wash it in your usual washing detergent. This way your little one will be cocooned in familiar aromas. It’ll be like they never left their crib!  
  4. The art of distraction 
    That gorgeous, moon-and-stars mobile you’ve had your eye on? Now’s the time to buy it! Or invest in one of those super cool projectors, which shines patterns onto the wall and ceiling. Things like this work as wonderful distractions, to soothe your babe when they’re feeling a little uncertain about their new surroundings. Anything to make parenthood a little easier right?  
  5. Wrap them up 
    It goes without saying, every baby loves a cuddle! In between their Moses basket and cuddles in your bed, a sleeping bag will work wonders when it comes to the transition. It’ll make your bub feel enclosed and cuddled whilst in their cot. They’ll feel so snug, that they’ll probably forget the fact they’re not in their crib anymore! 

When to move from cot to bed?  

A burning question many parents come to us with is when to take the sides off a cot bed? We get it – it’s one of them decisions every mum and dad will mull over for some time. On the one hand, if you’ve got a cheeky monkey who climbs out of their cot, it’s probably safer to remove the sides. On the other hand, you may worry they’ll fall out without the sides attached. Or that they’ll be in and out their room whenever they please. Yikes!  

So, how do you know when it’s time to take the sides off a cot bed? Our experts recommend looking out for these signs in your little one:  

  • They protest when being in the cot 
  • They keep attempting to climb out of the cot 
  • They are at an age where they need a little more freedom and independence 
  • It’s time to teach them to be conscious and aware of their snoozing space, so they learn not to fall out of bed  

Whilst you’ll have your apprehensions, our experts believe it’s super important for you and your little one to hit this milestone. Not only for their safety but also for them to gain a little independence. Remember – being able to hop in and out of bed is essential when it comes to potty training!  

The sides of your baby’s cot can be removed anywhere around about 18 months to 3 years old. However, there’s no rulebook for when it has to be – every family is different. Although, parents be warned – once those railings come off, they’ll be wandering up and down a lot more. So, be prepared for your early morning wake-up call, to look a lot more like your tot bouncing up and down on your bed! It’s all part of the fun of parenthood, right? 

Kiddies Kingdom top tips for cot to bed transition  

Tot sleeping in their bed next to their teddy

Every tot responds to a new bed in their own unique way. Whilst for some it’ll be a smooth-sailing ride, others will need a little more help with the process. We recommend setting a date for when you’re going to make the transition. When you’ve done this, you can plan to talk to your little one plenty of times about it, before the change happens. This way it won’t be a big shock for them! Other ways you can help ease your angel into the transition include: 

  • Put the bed in the same place as their cot so they can get used to it 
  • Put their favourite toys in their bed so they feel comforted 
  • Put their old cot blanket in the bed with them to soothe them 
  • If they’re able to speak, let them choose their bedding, to make it exciting rather than scary  

The leap from crib to cot is a huge milestone. Remember – baby steps are the best way to tackle this transition! Stay patient, give lots of loving encouragement, and keep your tot engaged every step of the way. Perhaps the hardest of all: embrace the idea that your little angel is growing up! Just go with the flow and progress over time. Begin with day naps and work your way up. More importantly, do what works best for you and your babe! Before you know it, your bundle of joy will be off to dreamland in their new space, with no qualms.  

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