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Transitioning a 2-year old from cot to bed

Transitioning  a 2-year old from cot to bed

Transitioning a toddler from a cot to a bed is a significant milestone in a parent's journey, marked by a blend of excitement, challenges, and a surge of emotions. This transition becomes even more complex when considering the nuances of a well-established sleep routine that had, over time, started to unravel. In our case, with our eldest daughter, the journey was a rollercoaster of sleep training, adjustments, and perseverance. 

Our initiation into the realm of sleep training began when our eldest was just 6 months old. The meticulous process of cultivating a consistent sleep schedule paid off, with our eldest frequently enjoying uninterrupted 12-hour sleeps. However, the equilibrium of tranquility shifted when our second daughter entered our lives at the 18-month mark. The arrival of a new sibling often brings a wave of change, and in our eldest's case, it manifested in disrupted sleep patterns.

The turning point in our nighttime saga occurred when our eldest, in a defiant act, threw herself out of the cot and made a determined journey to our bedroom. Realising that the cot was no longer a secure containment, we faced the inevitable decision of transitioning her into a toddler bed. This marked the beginning of a meticulous process that would test our patience and resolve.

Before introducing her to her new sleeping arrangement, we decided to make the transition as comfortable as possible. A visit to the bedding section resulted in a penguin-themed duvet, pillow, and bedding set – her choice. Little did we anticipate the challenges that awaited us beyond the aesthetics of her sleep space.

One of the initial hurdles was the stair gate in her bedroom, a source of distress. However, removing it entirely posed the risk of her frequenting our room throughout the night. Striking a delicate balance, we recognised the need to re-implement sleep training. The crux of our approach lay in the realisation that our eldest's anxiety about needing us by her side was hindering her ability to sleep independently.

The subsequent three weeks tested our commitment as we aimed to instill a sense of security in our eldest about her newfound freedom. We strategically utilised her morning nap slot, the time when she was most tired, to initiate the process. Reassurances, such as "Mummy is just going to make tea, and I'll be back in a few minutes," became our mantra as we gradually increased the time spent outside her bedroom.

Once we achieved success in this daytime routine, we seamlessly integrated it into her nighttime schedule. However, a new challenge emerged as we observed her waking at regular intervals around 11 pm, 2 am, and 4 am. Undeterred, we adapted our strategy, waking up 30 minutes before these time slots to gently touch her arm or offer a quick kiss – enough to break the sleep cycle without fully awakening her - we persevered with the wake to sleep training method for 7 nights, unsure as to whether or not this would work.

The turning point arrived when our eldest celebrated her second birthday, and we surpassed the one-month mark with the new sleep routine. The culmination of perseverance, consistency, and strategic planning yielded success – three consecutive 12-hour sleeps. The process was undeniably exhausting, especially with a younger one waking every three hours for feeds, but the fruits of our labour were apparent.

In retrospect, the key takeaways from this challenging transition were patience, consistency, and planning. The journey taught us that sleep training is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and adapting strategies to suit the child's individual needs is paramount. The delicate balance between reassurance and independence requires finesse, and the investment of time and effort, though demanding, reaps rewards.