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Big-Girl Bed

With a slightly-less-than-two-year span between Madeleine and Cora, Brian and I felt pretty confident that we wouldn’t need to double up on a lot of gear. All the toys Cora would want, Maddie has already grown out of. Ditto for clothing and gear like bouncy seats and swings. Sure, we’d need to solve the stroller dilemma, but we’re basically covered.

Our one big problem is the crib. Madeleine wasn’t quite old enough to move out of it before Cora was born, and obviously bringing in a newborn while simultaneously kicking a kid out of her crib and giving it to the usurper wasn’t quite the most sensitive thing to do. We also knew that even if we did push Madeleine to move out of her crib right before Cora was born, chances were high that she’d regress and want to go right back to the crib after a baby showed up: all our friends warned of regression in the early days and encouraged us to not waste our time pushing anything new like sleeping arrangements or potty training.

So we bought ourselves some time by borrowing a friend’s bassinet. In a perfect world, Cora would stay in the bassinet for 3-4 months, during which time Maddie would adjust to the baby, move out of the crib and lose interest in it entirely. That’s the plan, and we’re sticking to it.

Space is very tight in Maddie’s New York-sized bedroom, so there’s not really room for two beds at once. But I knew Maddie would need time to adjust to a big-girl bed, so we’d have to figure something out. I also realized we’d need something to travel, since most hotels don’t provide multiple pack n plays and there’s no way Maddie could sleep in a regular bed for a while.

4_to_6_weeks_178.jpgThe solution? I found this awesome air bed from One Step Ahead. It’s slightly larger than crib sized, comes with its own automatic pump, and has a raised border to help prevent rolling out in the middle of the night. I ordered it and immediately began hyping the idea of a “big-girl bed” to Maddie. We even ordered a toddler-sized pillow to go with it – just like Mommy and Daddy! By the time the thing arrived, she was in a fever pitch to open it and sleep on it immediately.

We started small – blowing it up and leaving it on the floor to hang out on. She sounded interested in sleeping on it right away, but we said no, wanting to give her time to get used to it. After a day of hanging out on it reading books, Maddie was begging to take a nap on it.

The first nap proved Madeleine was definitely ready for a big-girl bed: no problems, no fears. We allowed her to nap on it for about a week before taking the plunge and sleeping all night on it. Again, I wanted her to really want to do it, not be pushed into it. We moved all her “things” from the crib – her blanket and all her stuffed animals – and I’m guessing that made a huge difference. So Madeleine spent several nights in bliss on the big-girl bed without once looking back at the crib.

We’ve recently experienced a few setbacks; Maddie’s started having bad dreams, and a couple of times she’s awakened in the middle of the night and asked to move to her crib. I think she feels “safer” there, with the high “walls” around her. But I expected a lot more back and forth, and think it’s only a matter of time before she settles permanently in her big-girl bed. My hope is that this will work until we’ve got the crib out of her room, at which point we can buy a twin mattress and put it on the floor for her. My fear was that she’d realize there was nothing keeping her in bed any more and she’d be up and around as soon as she awoke (or else have trouble going to sleep for the same reason), but thus far my child’s been content to lie in bed and wait for mommy to come get her.

So if you’re looking for something to help transition out of the crib, or even just a “spare” bed to throw in the car on the way to Grandma’s, check this one out. It’s got two thumbs up from a very picky toddler.


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