Toddler Tuesday: Cribs to Beds

Sleep expert Carolina Romanyuk helps ease the nighttime transition from baby to big kid.

Toddler Tuesday: Cribs to Beds

There comes a time in your baby's sleep journey when you will say one of these things:

  • "My kid hates her crib. She is always trying to get out of it. I have tried everything and nothing works. She ends up sleeping in our bed, and then no one sleeps. "
  • "Woo hoo, you just turned 3. Let's celebrate with you becoming a big kid with a big bed. I'm so excited!"
  • "Baby # 2 is on the way. Time for a big bed."

Translation: It may be time for you to transition your little one from a crib into a toddler bed.

First, here are two extremely important factors that need to be considered before this switch-a-roo is to take place: maturity and safety.

Maturity. Is your child actually mature enough for the transition? For the last couple of years, she’s been cozy in her safe crib and has a solid sleep foundation. A big bed can seem like a massive ocean. Some children that transition too early without having a solid sleep foundation can result in cuddling up in one corner for sometime because of the abundance of space. Otherwise, she may experience sleep disruptions and difficult bedtimes with tears and tantrums. For some, it can take several weeks into the transition to realize, "Well now, I'm actually supposed to sleep in this massive thing. They aren't giving me my crib back. That sucks! Ok I'm gonna cry now because I hate this change. Was fun at first, but now it sucks!"


Safety. A 20-month-old is just now learning to follow simple instructions while simultaneously testing out rules and limits. They know your exact buttons to push. They are curious about the world and are extremely eager to explore. Now you add to the mix complete nighttime freedom--uh oh! What stops a small child from getting out of bed and roaming around in the dark? At 2-years-old, they are explorers, adventures, detectives and scientists. They can roam around their room at night; pull out drawers; climb on the changing table; eat the diaper cream--just making sure you’re paying attention. It becomes a time of potentially hazardous curiosity.

Even though I always recommend keeping a young toddler in her crib for as long as you can (preferably as close to 3-years-old as possible), she might have another agenda. You can try to stop her (turn the crib around or lower the mattress to make climbing out harder; remove large objects from the crib that could serve as a launch pad; or watching your monitor like a hawk to make sure you’re there with a firm "NO!" during any escape attempt). But when it’s actually time to make the switch, you need to know how to do it.

So when's the right time? When your child is able to communicate verbally that she wants a big bed and is ready, usually around 2.5 to 3 years of age. (Side Note: 2.5 to 3 years is highly recommended as the appropriate age for going from crib to bed. But no one knows your child better than you. So listen to her, and if she asks for it and is between 2 and 2.5 with a solid sleep foundation intact, then go with the signals...of course, keeping safety in mind.)

As everything in parenthood-land, a plan of action is needed. Here are 4 simple steps on transitioning:

1. Decide on the type of bed. You may want a toddler bed which is low to the ground and can fit the crib mattress inside; it's good till about 4 -5 years old. Otherwise, go right to a twin bed, which is higher off the ground and a twin mattress is needed. This is good till high school. (Side note: involve your child in the process of choosing her own bed, from choosing the color to picking out her sheets and pillow.)

2. Safety-fy the room. Make sure all drawers are secured and locked, including the changing table and closet. All electric sockets should be closed off. You may want to install bed rails to help if your child moves around a lot at night.

3. Hold a Family Meeting. This is super crucial to continuing with your solid foundation by establishing sleep rules so she can understand what is expected from her, why she is being transitioned and hear about the new big bed rules.

4. Have a Plan B. I always advise to have a Plan B when reality hits for your toddler after the transition. That moment when her toy falls to the ground, she gets out of bed to pick it up, and eureka! She realizes she can get out of bed by herself, and then the fun begins. A Plan B is needed if these setbacks occur, even way after the transition. Always stay consistent.

The transition from crib to big bed is huge and should be done at the moment your child is mature enough. As long as you listen to your child, and take in consideration her maturity level and safety, you'll be golden. Even if once in a big bed, she starts talking about her crib and missing it, listen and place her back into the crib. That's not going backwards or a regression, it's listening to your child.

Here is to a healthy future and a good night’s sleep.

Illustration of the Oeuf Perch Toddler Bed by Talia Handler Art.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

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

Our Partners

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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