26 answers

Family Bed Transition to Own Bed in Own Room

Hello, I am writing to get some advice on how to transition my 17mth old from our bed to her own without causing too much stress on her. The reason for the switch is because I just recently had surgery and she moves and kicks in her sleep and it just isn't working for me right now to have her in our bed.
This also comes at a bad time because we just moved so she is getting used to the new house and the first week we lived her I ended up in the hospital for 4 days. She stayed with her grandma. So basically there has been a lot of changes and turmoil in her life right now and I don't want to cause her more stress. I have been home for almost a week now but would like to get her in her own bed in her own room.
Please only give advice I don't want critisim for even having her in my bed in the first place. This was a choice that I made for me and my family and it has worked thus far. I just want to transition her as smoothly as possible. Thanks!

1 mom found this helpful

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You might try getting a "special" bed , something exciting for her, disney princess or Dora bed and matching covers, the toddler size beds are not too expensive and they have lots of matching accessories. If its a special "big girl" bed all her own it might help. Even if you have to put it close by at first it should help to get her into her very own bed.

Hi C.,

I too hope you don't get criticism. The family bed is a wonderful thing for people who can do it. This works for my family, and my wonderfully well-behaved and smart daughter is evidence that it's a good thing.

One thought, how about a big, firm body pillow between you and her? I don't have advice any on transitioning, but I wish you good luck and great advice from other moms.

Maybe a special stuffed animal or blanket can transistion with her... She can pick out her own bedding a special nightlight, etc... anything that'll make the move seem exciting and special, not something to dread.

More Answers

Hi C.,

I'm just transitioning my 3.5 year old to sleeping in his room alone. Though he is older, this may still help as far as putting your toddler in another room. I first set up a room for him and started sleeping in his bed with him (not a crib obviously). Next, I started sleeping on an airbed in his room. At first I still lay down with him until he was asleep, then moved to the airbed. Then, sat by the bed letting him touch me while he fell asleep. then no contact, then moved the chair to the foot of the bed, then outside the door, out of sight. You get the idea. I always told him what to expect, I think it's important to build trust. There were a couple hard nights at first, he woke in the night, and so mad. I was near though, and I kind of talked him through. I offered comfort but let him know that I expected him to stay in the bed, and encouraged him to use his music player (a crib toy with a big button on it he could control in the night if he woke) and a lovey (he never had one before, I think I have been his lovey). He learned quickly. In the mix, I moved the airbed from next to his bed, to the foot of his bed (out of sight). I also got a night light.

This gradual approach works well, and a change every 3 to 4 days is appropriate. Since you need to heal, perhaps Dad could do this. Your baby is approaching one of the peaks of seperation anxiety, so I feel like the gradual approach would really be worth it and would have a better long term result.

Along with The No Cry Sleep Solution, I also found Sleepless in America (Kurcinka) to be very helpful in developing a strategy for the transition. The "Baby Whisperer" also offers good suggestions along the gradual approach lines.

This may not apply since yuor baby is younger, but I say it in case it comes up later for you. To get at my son's fears, I did some doll play with him. A couple of dolls or puppets and together act out some regular daily routines, getting up, going to the park, eat, bath etc, encouraging the childs participation, then comes bedtime. The doll does not want to sleep alone. Ask your child why. I learned that my son was afraid of thunder (I got him some "ear protectors", a soft headband really, he did not use them for long) and stingrays (huh?). I told him that stingrays only live in water. Then when I suggested we get some "stingray stopper", he told me that we didn't need it because they only live in water. Somehow, going through the process of dicussing those fears seemed to be enough.

I wish you a speedy recovery and best of luck with the transition!


1 mom found this helpful

We are co-sleeping as well. My son is older though (4.5 yrs old. I put a bed beside our bed and he was doing really well sleeping in his bed most of the night. However, my husband likes it better when we have him in our bed. So I have not been trying to put him in his own bed.

I have read that some kids can get scared if they fall asleep in one place and then wake up in a different place. I would suggest that if you have a routine perhaps reading books before bed, do it in her bed and stay with her til she falls asleep. She may still wake up and get in bed with you, but maybe it will be later and later each time. I would not do the cry it out method. She may eventually "learn" to stop crying, but is she not scared? She is going through a transition and may not fully comprehend the move and your surgery etc.

The co-sleeper might be an idea or they make a co-sleeper pillow. Or how about a sleeping bag beside your bed?

Do what you feel is best. If it does not feel right you will know. I hope it works out the way you want it too.


I think you may have 2 transitions (or a series of gradual ones) to get her into a bed and a separate room. My son was never in our bed but at 2.5 he is still in a crib in our room. We are planning to switch him into a bed and his own room in the next few months (I'm pregnant). I plan to put a regular or crib mattress in our room first in case he wants to be near us. Can you do this as a first step since you have had a lot of changes lately? Also, if you do have an extra bed and your daugher won't stay in you can always sleep there until you heal up from surgery. Good luck with everything.

now is actually a good time for the transition. children really are flexible and sometimes they surprise us with their willingness to change. My son was always sleeping with us until he became too much (they just keep growing)
only three days of whining and he was fine.

How about you set up a routine that you both follow before bed time happening both outside her room and then a routine activity that would take place inside her room. Putting pictures of you and Dad on the wall next to her bed might help to.

try to transition her to a co-sleeper(the ones that you can have right next to your bed) first and them slowly move her towards her own room. or just keep her in the co-sleeper while your healing, whichever works better for you.

You might try getting a "special" bed , something exciting for her, disney princess or Dora bed and matching covers, the toddler size beds are not too expensive and they have lots of matching accessories. If its a special "big girl" bed all her own it might help. Even if you have to put it close by at first it should help to get her into her very own bed.

I totally agree with C. B - though we transitioned him first out of our bed, then moved his crib into his own room, then into a toddler bed earlier (3 separate events at 9, 14 and 17 months), between the transitions and the inevitable teething there were times we needed to take a step back. building that trust, being nearby, and responding quickly at night for the first while was really important for us. We similarly first stayed right up against his crib/bed with body contact (hand on back etc) until he fell asleep, then nearby with less/no contact, then sitting/laying down a bit further away with no eye contact (pretend you're sleeping too), slowly moving our way toward the door until we realized (and you will too) that he no longer needed us as his crutch. we also experimented with first staying until we were certain he was fully asleep and then leaving earlier and earlier until we could leave when he was still awake.
That being said, we also realized that there came a point when us being in the room was no longer a comfort but rather stimulation - hey, mom's here so let's play or read a book or practice some words. so be on the lookout for those signs.
we don't believe in crying-it-out, but we did sometimes leave his room for a minute or 5 (looking at the clock) when he was older. he always quieted down quickly with less and less intervention on our part.
but remember there is no such thing as a seamless transition!
good luck!

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