Better Bedtimes - Toddler Transitioning
As a first time Mum, other than pushing out a watermelon, conquering sleepless nights early on, it has definitely been one of my greatest achievements. For the first year of Bowie's life, I probably had around four hours of sleep a night, and somehow, I survived to tell the tale! When he turned one, things started to look up, for around three months. He was getting a good thirteen hours of sleep a night, uninterrupted, and so was I! Life was good, I even remember going to my baby groups and bragging about how much sleep I got whilst all the other Mum's were sat there with bags under their eyes and copious amounts of coffee.
Unfortunately, life happened, and after a series of unfortunate events relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, we ended up at my Mother in Laws sharing a bedroom with Bowie. I can safely say, all that bragging about my sleep bit me right in the arse. He was up constantly through the night, at least hourly and then ready for the day at five am. It was just awful! Being in a busy household full of kids, there was no way I could catch up on my sleep during the day either, so I was left frustrated, exhausted, very short tempered and felt like I had no patience for Bowie at all.
Things started to look up a little after a couple of months and we managed to get out of the Mother in Law's and back on our own two feet, well, six feet all together! I thought now was the perfect time, whilst used to having absolutely no sleep whatsoever, to start transitioning Bowie into a toddler bed.
I did hours and hours of research around the most successful ways to complete the transition with as little disruption to our lives as possible. This ranged from Feng Shui in his bedroom to the 'let him cry' method. I found lots of blogs sending me to countless websites for products to help, all of which I knew were absolute wastes of money. I needed to just go with my gut and do whatever works for us. Besides, its all about trial and error with a toddler right?
First thing first, I needed to find the right bed and mattress for Bowie. He had always had a cot with a super soft bamboo mattress and he loved it! So i didn't want to go down the route of a hard, plastic covered, standard toddler mattress.
Again, I did lots of research and eventually found The Great Little Trading Company. A beautiful, British based company who design and manufacture unique, high quality, wooden, children's furniture and toys. They have won heaps of awards and recently been voted 'Best Family Brand' by loved by parents! There is definitely no better way of shopping for kids products than reading reviews by like minded parents, and these were abundant.
So the decision had been made, I decided to go with The Great Little Trading Company. The website was really easy to navigate and has loads of blogs and ideas for designing the spaces your children use. Under the easily located toddler bedroom, I found the mattress I had been looking for, The Nutkin Toddler & Cotbed Mattress. The mattress contains micro pocket springs and is wrapped in breathable fibre, it also features a breathable and water-resistant cover with an anti-allergy finish that can be removed and washed for those little accidents that are all to come! Below the mattress, was a recommendation to pair with the Star Bright White Toddler Bed.
The toddler bed looked pretty solid and had space underneath for storage drawers if needed. The most important bit for me was the guard rails to make sure Bowie felt secure when transitioning from his Cot.
Whilst we were waiting for the bed to arrive, I got to work on decorating Bowie's room. I wanted him to feel like he had a new, exciting space for his first night in his 'big boy bed'.
His room is quite small, so I did the best with the space available, it worked out well and we even managed to fit his rocking moose in! Luckily, the bed has the space underneath for extra drawers, so I think I will probably order these soon as his toys only grow, they never seem to reduce!
Delivery was quick and assembly was pretty easy too! (although I left that bit to my wife) The bed was reassuringly low, as I was quite worried he would fall out. Once in place is was really impressed, it looked perfect in his little space and I was so excited to get started! Bowie was excited too, as soon as it was up he jumped straight on it and rolled around, he definitely knew it was his! I was just praying in my head that he would be this excited come bedtime!!
Bedtime arrived and Bowie was getting tired, he went into his room and looked a little confused when his cot wasn't there, he then remembered that I had moved it into the spare room (soon to be nursery for baby number two). He ran to the spare room and cried by his cot to go to bed. I calmly picked him up and took him into his bedroom and laid him in his new bed, he wasn't keen and thought it was a game. I thought to myself 'here we go'. After a story and a cuddle, I left him with his milk and closed the gate. He was quiet, for a while, and then I heard it, the sound of little feet running to the gate and he started shouting. It had began! I went back in, put him back into bed and explained this was his big boy bed now and he needed to go to sleep. Kissed his head and he turned over and closed his eyes. I left and repeated this at least another four times before I had to sit on his bed until he fell asleep. Throughout the night he woke every couple of hours and needed resettling. I expected it though so I was prepared. Morning came, I was exhausted but ready to try again!
Throughout the day I had let Bowie play in his room more than usual, he loved sitting on his bed with a book and kept getting in and out of bed out of excitement. He had his lunchtime nap absolutely fine and went straight off. Bedtime arrived and I prepared myself again for no sleep. It took me four tries and having to sit on his bed again for him to fall asleep. It wasn't that he was scared of being in there, more the fact he knew he could get out of bed if he wanted to. I was slightly worried, as I didn't want to get into a routine where I had to sit in his room for him to fall asleep. I hoped it would pass. The night was slightly better and he only woke twice, eventually waking at seven for the morning. This was much better, I thought we had definitely made progress.
Rest of the week
For the rest of the week, it was pretty much the same, I was still having to sit on his bed for him to fall asleep, I tried a few different methods, waiting for him to cry, leaving him to play until he fell asleep, but nothing worked. The nights got better though and reduced to just the one wake by the end of the week.
This past week has been better, there was a couple of days that he fell asleep without me having to sit with him, and for the majority, the nights were fine. One wake and most of the time, I didn't have to even go in.
In general, I think the transition will become smooth, We are back to getting a good amount of sleep and the bedtime routine has reduced from a good two hour fight, to only half an hour. I do think this will improve with time, especially when he cuts his lunch time sleep out and is really tired by bed time.
Overall, our experience with the mattress and the bed has been great, Its REALLY comfy and I've found myself falling asleep on it a few times myself whilst comforting Bowie! He is yet to fall out, and the guard rails are really good at keeping him feeling secure. The bed itself is compact, yet spacious, it fits in with the design of the bedroom perfectly and is very sturdy and well built, it holds Bowie, Me and my growing baby bump! so that says enough! I will definitely be reusing the bed for the next baby too. I also love how it has so many matching pieces of furniture and toys and I will be purchasing more bits to complete his room in the future.
Keep your eye on my Instagram page www.instagram.com/lifewithlittlefolk for further updates on Bowie's bed transition and how we are getting on. Feel free to contact me with any questions you have on your little ones bedtime and transition.