Making the Transition from Bassinet to Cot Bed
Just when you think you’ve got this baby sleep thing downpat, they outgrow their bassinet, Moses basket or co-sleeper. We feel you. Now you’re ready to transition to a bigger sleep space cot/cot bed, but will it disrupt their sleep routine? How do you know if they’re ready? If you’re facing these questions, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Read on for our top tips to help make the transition process much easier for both you and baby.
Here are some things to consider when deciding if you’re ready to transition baby from bassinet into a cot:
- Your baby’s age – Most babies transition into a cot between 3-6 months. If you’re starting to notice baby outgrowing their first bed or bassinet, it might be time to upgrade to something bigger for baby. Some babies grow faster and others might be much slower, you’ll need to judge this one for yourself.
- Your baby’s development and movement – If your baby is shifting positions, wriggling around the bassinet or rolling over, it’s probably a good time to switch to a larger cot bed. A small sleep space for an active baby can be dangerous so it’s important to keep an eye on this.
First things, first…
Before actually making the switch, make sure you have gone through the checklist for a safe-sleep environment for baby in a new cot, including:
- A firm crib mattress
- A deep enough cot to prevent baby climbing out when they become more mobile
- A clear sleeping space with no cot bumpers, extra cushions or excess blankets
- A space with an optimal sleep temperature (18-21 degrees Celsius)
- A smoke-free environment
- For more on this topic, read our sleep-safe checklist blog here.
Transition gradually, switch it in stages…
Your baby needs to feel safe and secure in their sleep environment which can take time. Let baby nap in the new cot during the day for a couple of weeks before you transition into the cot for a full night’s sleep. Then after a few weeks you can transition more heavily so baby is in their cot all the time. If you have room, you can place the cot in your room initially and then when baby is comfortable in the cot, move them into their new nursery or room.
You can also try lingering a little longer in the room during the initial stage of transitioning until your baby falls asleep and slowly shorten this time once you feel baby doesn’t need you there to fall asleep in their new space.
Add some comfort…
It’s best to keep baby’s environment as similar as possible to their previous sleep environment, which means keeping bedding and comforters or toys consistent. A familiar smell and feel can help baby self-soothe and relax more easily allowing them to feel secure and drift off to gentle sleep. If you’ve made the switch to silk, you can use our Silk Cot Sleeve or Silk Cot Sheet in baby’s new cot to keep the same consistent feel on baby’s skin, while helping them to self soothe.
“My daughter loves the feel of the fitted sheet on her skin. She sleeps very well and we think it’s a fantastic product! What a treat.” – Janet C.
“Since using this mattress cover my daughter’s bald patches have started to grow back, and she absolutely LOVES the feel of it. I can’t wait to order more!” – Aryana W.
Read more about how Silk helps to prevent baby bald spots here.
You can also introduce a comforter/lovie to baby before they transition to the cot and carry this over to their new sleep environment, helping to create a positive sleep anchor/association which can help them feel more relaxed and at ease in the cot.
Stay consistent with a routine…
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again - babies LOVE routine. Routines are comforting for baby especially around sleep time as they come to know what to expect day by day. Find out what works for you and your baby and stick with it. Continue baby’s bedtime routine as normal with the only difference being the change of bassinet/co-sleeper into cot. This will help baby feel calmer and more relaxed when it comes to sleep time.
If you’re wondering how long the transitioning process can take, the answer is, there is no fixed time. It could take a few days to a few weeks or a few months. The important thing to note is that it should be a gradual process and should get better day by day. Brace yourself for some inevitable fussing and tears while baby gets familiar with their new sleep environment. Be patient and go easy on yourself – it’s a learning adjustment for you too!
Baby monitors and sound machines can be helpful for anxious parents as well as helping with baby’s initial adjustment – this way you can track how your baby’s transition is going while encouraging them to learn to fall asleep alone!