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!

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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.

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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!

Sorry you are having a hard time now and hope you are healing well. Please know I have no critisim for your decision to have your child sleeping with you to begin with. I know families who have done this and these children are very well adjusted and productive adults today. I also know children who always had their own rooms, own beds and are well adjusted and productive adults today....NO right or wrong here...

It's going to take time, patience and with a lot of positive thinking and support, your child will adjust to not only her new home but her new bed and room.

Make her room colorful and playful to be in with all her favorite toys and books. Also make sure there is a comfortable place for you to set when it's needed for you. If you have a fun attitude about this room, she will in time pick up on that. Spend time with her in this room both at nap and bed time and especially when she is fussing...comfort her, let her know you are there and that she's ok..
Getting an intercom for the room might help you to relax more during this change...that way you can hear her when you aren't in the room with her...a small night light might also be helpful.

You are doing what you need to do...don't be hard on yourself with guilt over this. It's not the end of the world...it's just another adjustment and boy is life full of those. Have faith everything will fall into place...

Fellow unapologetic co-sleeper here. Can you sleep in another bed and her sleep with dad for a while? Then maybe dad can be the one to help her transition to her own bed. How about putting a bed for her next to yours, against the wall with pillows to make it like a nest. She may be happy there and you can still co-sleep but save yourself being kicked.

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.

I guess one thing you can do is really play up how special her new room is. "Wow... look ... you have your OWN big girl room!" etc.... I'm sure the first night or two will be rough. All my kids were in their own room from day 1, but even with that, transitioning from a crib to a bed in that same room led to a night of tears.

As much as you might not want to hear it, I'd let her cry it out. She might cry a lot the first night but probably by the second night, she'll be ok. You just don't want to get in the trap of running in every time she cries. Maybe she'll surprise you and be thrilled to be in her own room!

Good luck and I hope you have a speedy recovery....

Dear C., I also have a daughter who luckily slept on her own really well until recently (we put her in her own room on the third day home from the hospital, now she's 2.5 years old and is going through a clingy phase) - so I have some good tips for you.
I would take her into her own room, about an hour before she goes to sleep. Play with her there, read her some books, do the night-time ritual there (brush teeth, change diaper, etc.). Then, turn off the light (i leave the hallway light on, but it's almost completely dark) and stay with her in the room while you are seating in a chair (preferably near the door) with soft music playing (we always put some of her favorite nighttime music). Our daughter has a special teddybear she loves to sleep with, so i have this ritual every night of laying her down to sleep and covering her up with a favorite "blanky" and then doing the same for "teddybear" (i cover him with a small blanky) - it's all very cute and she loves it!
It'll take her a while to adjust to sleeping on her own and in her own bed, but once she drifts off, leave the room. you'll hopefully soon be able to exit the room quicker and quicker and later on she'll get used to sleeping in her room that you won't need to even stay with her while she falls asleep. Good luck and feel well soon, M.

Hi C.,

Transitions for children are not always easy, however they can be done. Now you said you, "I don't want to cause her more stress". She's young and she will adjust when you put her in her own bed. She may cry and fuss, but considering her age I don't think she will remember or it will scar her. Put her in the bed when she is very tired that should help. She is young she will adjust. I did that with my daughter, she fussed, but eventually got used to being in her own bed.

All the best to you and your baby girl.

The best to both of you.

I think its GREAT you share sleep. I think its the very best way to parent and anyone who disagrees isnt aware of the full benefits of co-sleeping and the risks with crib sleeping. On that note, have you tried having a toddler bed or the crib mattress placed in your room? Not sure if your mattress is on the floor or not (some co-sleepers do this to prevent rolling off, we just used a bed rail) but if it is, it would still keep her close to you, but she could still sleep independently. Or you could try rocking her to sleep, and when she doezes off, lay her in her own bed. My baby was very easy to transition because he was very ready. I just followed his signals and by about 16 months he was in his crib every night without a cry, a struggle, and he never even stood up! He fell asleep in the same postition I layed him in, all tucked in. We tried this one night when he was tired and rolling around on the couch trying to get comfortable. I went and layed him in his crib and that was that. I wish all baby's transitioned that easily! Good luck!

Our son slept in our bed until he was 2, at which point we moved him to a crib mattress on the floor of our bedroom and played up the "big boy bed" aspect. Then we played up the "big boy room" thing and brought him to the store to lie down on (jump on) all the beds and help choose his brand new Big Boy Bed and talked to him about how his "babies" (stuffed animals) might have a difficult time with the transition into a new room and that it was his job to help them adjust. We also painted his room and included him in every decision about how his room would look. No problems!

My son was 10 months old when we transitioned him to his own bed. There wasn't surgery involved, but none of us were getting any sleep (not me, my husband, or my son). You have to do it in a way that is comfortable for you and your family. What we did was transition him first to a crib in our bedroom--but he was asleep each night when he went in. It probably helped too that he was used to napping alone during the day in his crib. So if she naps with someone, maybe you could transition her for her nap first? (Unless you don't want to change the nap of course.) After he was used to the crib in our room (actually in hindsight it was probably more for my peace of mind, because I worried so much about the transition), we put him in a crib in his own room. He was really fine with the whole thing. "The No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley might be helpful. I wasn't interested in letting my son cry, so this book was really helpful. It's a quick read, and is divided into sections by age--I love that the author gives examples for transitioning all age babies, and for all situations, those who have co-slept for a few years even. Please e-mail me if you have any questions, or if this answer doesn't make sense. I'm babysitting six kids, and my niece will not stop yakking into my ear, so I can't really think straight! Good luck.

we cosleep as well. as im sure you know, there are many proven benefits of cosleeping(an no proven negative effects anywhere). my daughter is 3 1/2 and slept with us until 3. we moved her in her own room when the new baby came. considering we had recently moved, got rid of the binky, and had a baby all in the same time, she did great.

for your babys age, i dont think it would be best to move her at the time of all this change, esp if you are in pain. she will most likely know you are not yourself and be worried. then you probaly wont pick her up due to the surgery, so all this with the moving of her out of your room might have her feel rejected. i would strongly suggest either- you put her big girl mattress on the floor and transition her to that maybe with the same blankets, pillows, even type of mattress(baby mattresses are sooo hard) OR have someone go in her room and lay with her(honestly depending on the child, she may transition better onto a mattress on the floor or childs bed) or get her to sleep before putting her down in her own room OR as someone suggested use a body pillow or have her sleep on the outerside of the bed maybe with a bed rail next to daddy till you are better.

it was super easy to reason and talk with my daughter at 3 but your daughter is too young for that. just decide if you are done completely cosleeping which then i would do the get her to sleep and lay her down method for now, or if its just temporary, and work something else out like having her sleep on the other side of daddy. the only thing i wouldnt do is have her go to her room then change your mind down the road. that would be confusing. good luck and hope you feel better.

from one mom to another the family bed is the only way to go. my son is 5 now and for the first year and a half and ok still on occasion he has slept in our bed. with my growing belly now he kicks a bit to much to he knows its better to sleep in his own bed. but anyway what we did when it was time for him to go to his own bed cause of work scheduales we put his toddler bed in the same room and just kept moving it further and further away from our bed now hes in his own room and loves it. he would end up in our bed alot of nights and we'd just put him back in his cause he was still in the same room he would be ok as long as he knew we were close if he needed anything. ita not easy for some kids but then again no matter what anyone says the family bed is not a bad thing and if our great great grandparents did it and so many other countries still do it it can't be all that bad. my next baby is gonna be a family bed baby too!! good luck to you and keep trying she'll get it sooner or later!

Are you planning on putting her in a crib? Because a bed on her own, she may be too young for a bed, speaking from a mother of three. When my boys turned two, they got their own beds, except he second one becuse we had to wait until we had more money in our budget and he was climbing out and having a bed was the right choice for him. Frist of all, she may climb out in the middle of the night and may get into things you won't her get into. Also, you must make sure there is a bed gate to prevent her from falling out.
No one should criticize or condemn you for the choices you make.
I have thought that thing...what they call it, you let the baby cry a few minutes and adding minutes until they learn to soothe themselves to sleep...I thought was the good thing and worked with my first two boys, but with the last one, it was not good. He throws up if he cries for a certain amount of time...so you may or may not want to do it. Perhaps, rock her to sleep and put her in her crib on her own. some people say you shouldn't rock your child to sleep, stay out of that habit, but I can't think of a better solution and some children need that comfort and they are still babies even at 17 months old even at 3 months old. They have a little heart and brains that don't know anything but a need of comfort from a mommy or daddy and sometimes rocking or just sitting on your lap while reading may put them to sleep. How she goes to sleep? Just lay in bed with you? Then do that and pick her up and lay her in the crib. Let's see what others suggest and I pray that Jesus will give you His Wisdom what to do best for your daughter if you ask Him and he will. He entrusted you with this beautiful child to raise her properly and according to His ways. Any more questions, feel free to contact me or others. We are here to help you :)

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.

Hi C., first i would like to say i hope you are up and running soon. As for your daughter if her room is close by, try a nite lite and keep her falling asleep in your bed and quietly move her to her own bed, if she is in a crib try moving it to your room temperarely my 3 chidren slept with me as i was a single mom then, i tried playing the big kid game and event. They transitioned to there own room. I even had a toddler bed in my room for a while. Lol i realize it doesnt leave much for privecy, but as you stated she has had alot of new things going on so mabie slowly this might work, good luck. C.

Transitioning now may be hard especially if you are not able to give her your all during the day after surgery. If there is so much going on right now why not keep her in the bed and move you? That way she still has the familiar bed (with dad) and you can recover safely and get some sleep. When you are back to 100%, or as much as us moms can be, you can move back in and/or deal with moving her.

Good morning C.,

Well first of all I hope you are recovering well from surgery. My son was in my bed for a while and it took some time to get him out in his own bed. You can try getting her an animal to take to bed to keep her safe or maybe put a night light in her room. Make it seem fun to make her want to do it. It may take some time but hang in there and keep it going. It maybe hard at first but in the end it will be ok. I wish you the best of luck and a speedy recovery.


Hi C.,
I wanted to reply to your request, but alas, my DD is only 6 months old and I'm no where near ready to transition her out of the family bed. Basically I would have said, try bringing her crib mattress or a futon mattress into your room and make it her big girl bed for your new fancy house. But it sounds like the other Mom's had great advice, so I just wanted to cheer for you in your attachment parenting choices. You've done the work up until now, so I'm sure your daughter is very safe and secure, and whatever you do (might be an effort to build the habit for the first week), but your daughter will respond positively. Great job on the family bed! Good for you! Yay!

we had the family be and what worked finally for us was letting him sleep in our bed for 5-10 min and then putting him in his bed. It took a few nights of putting him back in there and staying next to his bed for a few minutes but after two weeks he got the idea. He would still come into our bed if he woke up at night so to remedy that we got him a night light which we had put off cuz we were afraid he'd play with it. but it worked great and he doesn't even touch it.
It's tough hang in there, the sleep and space are so worth it.

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