I'm due to give birth to my second child in three months. I'd like to move my 18 month old to a bed so I can have the cot for the baby. Is this a good idea? What is the best age to make the cot bed transition .. 

The arrival of a second child often raises the issue of moving the older child to a bed as you will be needing the cot for the new baby.  It is a question that parents grapple with trying to decide the best way to manage the situation when you have children with a 16-24 month age gap.  Over this age the issue has already been delt with, under and around this age can be quite tricky to decide.

You have two options ‘to move or not to?’ Not moving your toddler means that you have them in their cot for a little longer, which means delaying that inevitable move to freedom which can be easy or tricky – problem is you don’t really know what you are going to get.  Delaying means purchasing another cot or using a porta cot with a bassinet insert for your baby until your toddler is out of the cot or going with a bassinet option for your baby, hoping they aren’t born big and will out grow the bassinet until your toddler is really ready to move.

Moving – means moving your toddler before he’s ready, and moving him now as you only have a few months to go and really the earlier you move him the better as you want a bit of time between the arrival of the new baby and using his cot for the baby.  Moving also means early freedom.

The is no right or wrong way however I would ask you one question:  the right time to move a toddler and make the transition from a cot to a bed is when you notice your toddler being able to get his toes up onto the top rail of the cot – this is around 18mths – 2 yrs, sometimes earlier.   Once he can do this, it is a quick ride to him being able to grip, wriggle, hoist and up and over – where you will find him on the floor.  So the right time is when you see him doing this.  If you are not ready to move him ie. have no other bed organized – then simply check his room for safety ie. power cords, electric switches etc and just take out his cot mattress and put it on the floor for the next few nights or months until you get organized (you won’t have to worry about him falling off the bed this way) So my question is do you see him doing this with his toes yet?  If the answer is yes then certainly move him.  If the answer is no then leave him longer if you wish – it is also easier to manage (unless you have a really independent toddler) with a new baby when you are up and feeding and your toddler wakes up, he can wait in his cot until you finish the feed and come and get him or else management is more difficult.

If you decide to move then there are a few different bedding options to choose.  So do a bit of research about which would be best – I favour a toddler bed with half sides and using his own cot mattress. That way the sleeping surface is the same.

Nicole Pierotti

Written by Nicole Pierotti

© Copyright 2012. No reprinting or publishing without permission from writer. For permission or further information contact nicole@babysmiles.com.au.

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