3 easy plans to transition from crib to bed—and how to make it permanent

There are many ways to help your child make the transition from crib to bed. When deciding which way is best, you will want to consider your child's personality and the size and configuration of his bedroom.

No matter which path you choose, be patient! Do your best to make it a pleasant experience for your little one. Keep in mind that such big steps toward growth sometimes happen in spurts, and your child may be excited to welcome change one day but wary of it the next.

Maintain the important parts of your nightly routine and help your child develop a positive, happy association with their new bed, since she'll be sleeping there for many years to come.

Here are some possible options for creating your own plan:

1. Big-kid bed hoopla

Some kids enjoy a big, splashy event. They love being involved in choosing a new bed and linens and helping to set it up. They get excited about an official Big Kid Bed Day. If this defines your child, go ahead and throw a party. Decorate the room, wrap a few bedtime-related presents (like books or a stuffed animal).

No matter how exciting this all may be, remember that when the actual first night of sleeping there arrives your child may suddenly be nervous. So provide extra loving attention and reassurance and help your child enjoy the experience without expecting him to suddenly transform into a big kid overnight.

2. The one-step-at-a-time switcheroo

A slow introduction to this change is to take the crib mattress out of the crib and place it in exactly the same place as the crib—but on the floor. This gives your child the security of seeing almost exactly the same view of the room as they're accustomed to. Place temporary guard rails around the sides to create a similar feeling of enclosure as the crib provided. Use all the same bedding and crib toys as your child has been used to.

This is a mid-step between the crib and a real bed. After your child is used to this arrangement you can replace the crib mattress with a bigger mattress. The next step is to add the box springs, and finally, the bed frame—keeping the guard rails up until you're confident that your child is safe from falling out of bed.

3. The gradual introduction

Plenty of children like to gradually work up to the idea of making this big change and would respond best if they can test it out a little bit at a time. If you think this describes your child's way of thinking, then set up the new bed in the same room with the crib. Start off by allowing your child to play on the bed, and see if they're interested in napping there. Perhaps do your bedtime reading or nightly massage in the new bed. All of this will help your child get used to the new bed over time. Eventually you can suggest that they'll sleep there all night and see how they respond.

What if they hate it?

Parenting is filled with both big and little decisions and parents can't always predict the future. There will be times when what seemed like the right decision, turns out to be wrong. Sleep is such a volatile issue, and there are so many sleep and bedtime-related problems that parents have to deal with. My perspective is to avoid an issue if you can.

If you've made the change from crib to bed and given it a fair effort, but your child suddenly begins to have many more night-wakings, doesn't fall asleep easily, or cries for his crib, then, if possible, go ahead and let him go back to his familiar source of comfort. This isn't a failure on anyone's part, just a change that your child wasn't quite ready for. If you've planned to use the crib for a new sibling, see if you can come up with an alternative solution, such as putting your newborn into a cradle or portable crib for a while, or even borrowing or buying a second crib.

Making it permanent

No matter how well the adjustment goes, there are bound to be new sleep issues that crop up. Some may be in conjunction with the change but others may appear at this time just as a coincidence. Take each sleep issue individually and apply solutions to any that arise. It's all part of being a parent.

When you are patient and supportive, and allow your child to make a change to a big-kid bed on his own timetable, you'll find this to be a wonderful milestone in your child's exciting and ever changing growth and development.

Originally posted on Elizabeth Pantley.

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When it comes to registering for baby products, there's one word we love: convertible.

In contrast to items you use for a short period of time, convertible (or multi-use) products are made to grow with your baby… and trust us, that makes them worth their weight in gold.

Convertible items allow you to reap the benefits of your baby registry for years to come—and that's just savvy shopping, mama. Also savvy shopping? Creating your baby registry with Target and enjoying their Year of Benefits registry program for expectant parents. Just by starting your registry, you will get a welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. And Target's newest registry perk, the Year of Exclusive Deals, gives you discounts on essentials for your baby's whole first year when you sign up for Target Circle as well.

If you prioritize value and longevity when creating your registry, here are 10 items you'll love from day one through day 1,000… and beyond!

A crib that can grow through childhood + beyond

Simmons Kids Slumbertime Monterey 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

A crib is a necessity as you plan for life with your baby—you know that already. But what about in a couple of years when they need a toddler bed? Or a few years beyond that when they graduate to a bigger bed? Well, you're in luck: With the right attachments, this bed can be the only one they need until college.


A cozy blanket for snuggles + security

Plush Velboa Baby Blanket I Love You - Cloud Island\u2122 White/Black

Blankets have earned their spot on millions upon millions of registries for good reason: They function as stroller covers or play mats during the early days, then become beloved security items in the toddler years.


A comfy spot for feeding + stories

Baby Relax Addison Swivel Gliding Recliner

During your first months of motherhood, a comfortable gliding chair will be your second home as you spend time feeding and bonding. As your child grows (and mobility makes those snuggles harder to catch), you'll discover a new love for this cozy spot for stories and bedtime snuggles.


Sealy Cozy Rest Extra Firm Crib and Toddler Mattress

Fun fact: A standard crib and toddler bed actually use the same size mattress. That's why it's smart to get a quality crib mattress right out of the gate: One less thing to change up in a few years!


A changing table that doubles as a dresser

Simmons\u00ae Kids Monterey 4 Drawer Dresser with change top

If space is at a premium in your baby's nursery, look for a combination changing table and dresser. That way, you can keep using the dresser long after your little one is potty trained.


A car seat that converts to a booster

Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

The safest place for your child is in the backseat of your car, in either a car seat or (later) booster. But instead of buying a new seat for each phase, you can check off multiple boxes at once by adding a convertible car seat to your registry.


A stroller that accommodates big kids, too

Graco FastAction Jogger LX Stroller

The need for a good stroller doesn't end when your little one learns to walk, so look for a stroller that can accommodate bigger kids, too. We recommend a jogging stroller that allows you to attach an infant car seat and is still perfectly spacious for toddlers.


A place to dine for years to come

Ingenuity SmartClean Trio Elite 3-in-1 High Chair - Slate

From first bites to family dinners around the table, one single high chair can be the solution you need. That is, if you look for a version that adapts into a booster seat when your child is ready for a plate at the table.


A white noise machine + alarm clock in one

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

After spending months listening to ambient noise in the womb, white noise remains incredibly comforting for your child. It's nice to have a sound machine that can transition to a time-to-rise clock down the line. By cueing with sounds and colors, these clocks reinforce healthy sleep habits.


A baby carrier that can haul a toddler, too

Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier

A carrier is a major help when your baby loves being held, but you need use of your hands. But even months or years down the line, you can still get use out of that carrier. To maximize longevity, look for one that can be used with your child facing outward or even carried on your back as they grow.


Enjoy building your registry with Target, mama! The Year of Benefits is calling your name with a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more! 😉

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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