To free or not to free?

By | February 21, 2011

I’ve been having a conversation on Twitter about whether 20 months is too young to take the sides off C’s cot.

The practical reasons for wanting to do this are:

  • She’s looked after by my parents 3 days a week and currently naps in a travel cot in their spare room.  This isn’t going to be practical for too much longer.
  • We go camping in the summer and it would be great to not have to cart the travel cot there, along with the same problem as above
  • She sleeps really well, rarely waking before 8am
  • M thinks it’ll be nice for her to come and snuggle with us in a morning (ok, so not really a practical reason!)

The majority of the responses were positive but the one thing that was mentioned a few times was a bed guard so that’s gone on my shopping list.

Me and M are off work next week so we’re thinking of trying it out then, then if it’s a disaster and C doesn’t sleep well at least we don’t have to worry about getting her up, dressed and out of the door by 8.30.

Are there any other helpful tips that might make this transition go smoothly?  We’re grateful for any advice!



Emma Collins on February 21, 2011 at 10:21 pm.

I did this when my daughter was 13 months old! I put a stairgate on her room like everyone told me but discovered that daughter slept walked and walking into stairgate woke her up and it was a battle of sleeping the rest of the night. Once I removed this, she slept walked into my room and I just picked her up and put her in bed – simple!

Daughter never slept through though! Has always woken every few hours and was always up at 4/5am – made the transition easier for me I guess.

Good luck! X

Emma on February 22, 2011 at 9:40 am.

Thanks, I’m quite excited but a bit scared too!

Geeky Mummy on February 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm.

Be warned when buying a bed guard, they only fit certain beds, we couldn’t find one that would fit our cot bed.

Re timing, I know someone who did change around this age, but we did it at just after 2. I think the biggest issue is how active she is at night. My kids spin and move in their sleep lots so my concern is throwing themselves out of bed. Took a lot of courage to move Geeky Daughter into a mid-sleeper at 5.

Put cushions down under the bed in case she does fall out of bed – we used foam mats which seemed to soften the landing, make everywhere she can wander at night child proof. We stuck a stairgate on her door, though it was hardly necessary as it was 6 months before she realised she could get out of bed.
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Emma on February 22, 2011 at 9:42 am.

Thanks for the tips. I wouldn’t have even looked at whether a bed guard would fit – I just assumed they were universal. I’ll definitely check that out now.

C used to wriggle round a lot in her sleep but we gave her a pillow and quilt a couple of months ago and she barely moves now so I’m hoping it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Emma Clement on February 21, 2011 at 10:54 pm.

At 19months – We were having problems with our son going in his cot – we cosleep and looking to get him in his own bed. Thing was, he was terrified of his cotbed even if I tried to put him in to play in the day he would cling to me so tightly his nails dug in. (he’d previously been happy to play in his cot in the daytime when I was also in the room so not sure why he became terrified!)

So we decided to take a side off his cotbed and we bought a bed guard from mothercare.

He loved it! Within minutes he was climbing on his bed and bouncing and playing with all his toys.

He now starts off the night in his own cotbed and then comes in with us, usually about 1am.

One month on, im glad we went for it and took a side off!
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Emma Clement on February 21, 2011 at 10:58 pm.

Forgot to put my big tip! Take the side off and make the change in daylight and let her play and get used to the change throughout the day so it’s not a big surprise at bedtime! X
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Emma on February 22, 2011 at 9:43 am.

Thanks, that’s a good idea.

Glad it’s made a difference for you.

sian on February 22, 2011 at 9:56 am.

I took the sides of when caitlyn was 13 months and put a stairgate on the door, she slept really well so I would say go for it.
Caitlyn enjoyed going to bed when she had a big girls bed.
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Emma on February 22, 2011 at 10:07 am.

Thanks! Hope it goes as well as it did for you!

LauraCYMFT on February 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm.

My first moved into his toddler bed when he was about 20 months old. The first time he went in it, he got up and I had to take him back which lasted about 45 minutes. The second night was only 10 minutes and the last night he went straight to sleep. I never had a bed guard for him, just because I felt if I’m moving him into a toddler bed then it needs to be a bed. It’s low anyway so he wasn’t going to hurt himself falling out of it and we just put cushions on the floor until he got used to it. We knew he was ready when he stopped sleeping upside down in his cot and didn’t move about as much. My daughter has also just moved into her toddler bed and she’s 20 months.
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Emma on February 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm.

Yes, I’m expecting the same thing re getting up. Like when C learnt how to stand up in her cot it took us about 2 hours to get her to sleep the first night, by the 3rd night she was fine and didn’t bother anymore!

Laura McIntyre on February 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm.

We tend to leave it a little later. Basically waiting till the kid could climb in and out with no problems ,

My eldest was only 18months though and that was because she hated her cot – hated the bed to but we just wanted to try it .
My dd2 was about 2.5 and it went great but she did start coming into us around midnight every night.
Oh my son is almost 2.5 and will be in a cot for a while now , he normally goes down and plays for a while before sleep and would never do that if in a bed.

I think it is really up to you , although i do know alot of children that struggled making the transition.

Maybe buy new bedding ? We done that and it made them all excited having bedding in there faivroute tv characters
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Emma on February 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm.

Thanks for the tip!

We’ve decided if it’s a disaster we’ll just try again in a few months. She’s always slept well though so I’m crossing my fingers she’ll be fine, after the initial excitement of course!

angelsandurchinsblog on February 23, 2011 at 9:53 am.

We moved our oldest out of his cot and into a toddler bed at about 22 months because we needed the cot for his younger brother. The toddler bed was very low to the ground, and it had a guard rail at the head of the bed. He slept brilliantly in it from the beginning. The worst bit for us was having to pick up the toys from the floor; he’d always kept them in his cot because of the high sides.
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Emma on February 23, 2011 at 10:04 am.

I can sympathise re the teddies! C sometimes has 7 or 8 cuddled in with her, then all the others that are at the bottom!

We’re just moving C’s cotbed down to the bottom setting which is practically on the floor anyway, and taking the sides off. I’m keeping my fingers crossed she’ll sleep!

geekmummy on February 25, 2011 at 12:32 am.

I know it’ll be too late by the time you read this, as I read on Twitter you were going to try removing the cot sides tonight, but I’ve been meaning to add my thoughts for a while, so here goes!

We moved the geekdaughter out of her cot into a normal bed when she was 2.5. Personally I’d have left it later, but we needed the cot for her brother, as there was no way I was going to buy a second cot!

Whilst she adjusted brilliantly to the “big girl” bed, she quickly learnt that she could get out of it. Whereas previously she would play happily in her cot until I went to get her in the morning, suddenly we had to cope with her deciding to get all her toys out of her bedroom and playing with them on the landing at 5am!!

I also suddenly lost my ability to have showers, because again I used to leave her in her cot with a few toys whilst I showered, and I lost the ability to do that too!

We never bothered with bed guards – she’s only fallen out of bed a handful of times (!). I reckoned that she’d have to master sleeping without the guards sooner or later anyway.

So I would always say to people there’s no rush to get your toddlers out of their cots. Make the most of being able to keep them in one place as long as you can!!

I know there’s an issue with C growing out of her travel cot, but kids can cope really well with sleeping in different things in different houses. My C still sleeps in a travel cot (it’s a very long one) when she stays at my Mum’s house.

Anyway, that said, I hope it all goes well.
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