We all ask the same question at some point: does our child still need to be in a cot? It’s not necessarily easy to tell when your child should switch to a baby bed without railings. It’s not a question of age, but rather when your child begins to show signs of telling us they are ready: they start climbing the railings, making extra room by throwing out the soft toys… and should a little brother or sister happen to come along at just the right time, that provides the perfect opportunity to make the transition. Why not go for a cot bed as a test!
Over the next few paragraphs, we’ll look at the topic of when to move your little boy or girl from their cot into a whole new night-time world: a proper bed!
This involves a change that is harder for us to deal with than your little one. It’s true that if your child is used to their cot, they’ll sleep better in it. Your child gives the impression of being familiar and comfortable in this space that helps them drift gently off to sleep.
Initially, your child is at the foetal stage. They develop in a narrow, warm and reassuring space. Their first bed should remind them of the period of time they spend in mummy’s tummy. You should therefore go for a small cot that baby will feel safe in. Avoid placing it near a window to avoid any risk of falling out, and do not put it under a light that is too bright (see the Galipon article “Making sure the nursery is safe as baby takes their first steps” for more details on the safety aspect of their nursery). Make sure a nightlight is within their field of vision, or leave the door slightly ajar to let light in from the landing.
You’re all sorted in terms of baby’s bed for the first few months! Bedtime routines are established, you read a little story, switch on the mobile hanging over your little angel’s cot… then, if everything goes according to plan, you can tiptoe out of the nursery, trying to avoid stepping on that noisy floorboard or making the door creak. In this case, why not apply a little oil to the hinges to prevent this happening? It’s worth it to ensure that nothing risks waking up your little cherub who is sleeping just a short distance away.
Hasn’t time flown since your tiny newborn arrived! Your child’s life seems to be passing by so fast, you can hardly believe they’re already starting to climb the railings on their cot.
So, to come back to the big question that you have to think about all too quickly: when should you remove the railings from your baby’s cot?
The answer is, that there is no answer. Each case is different; your child will let you know when they feel the need to move on.
You can’t define exactly when your little one will start showing signs of wanting to be more independent. It’s true that they may already be starting to want to do things for themselves! But at least we’re not yet at the adolescent stage, which will bring a whole new set of problems. For the time being, your child will just stamp their independence by dragging you from your sleep. It’s up to you to set the boundaries.
Here’s a quick overview of the signs that your child could demonstrate. Firstly, you will see that your baby is starting to feel hemmed in, so it’s becoming too small by definition. Secondly, another possible indicator could be that your little cherub starts trying the climb the railings on their cot.
You need to look out for all the signs that your little one is trying to show us they are capable of getting out of their cot on their own. The aim is obviously to avoid putting them in danger.
Love and patience are key to ensuring this important step goes smoothly for your child. For the types of signs we’ve just discussed, you need to bear in mind that your little one is simply demonstrating their desire to move on and that they are ready to take their first steps towards independence. This is an important step for them. You need to reassure them, encourage them and stop treating them like a baby – even though they’re obviously still only small.
When you introduce their new grown-up bed, try not to turn their whole world upside down. Don’t completely redecorate their bedroom at the same time. They’re already changing their bed, so try to give them time to get used to it and find their bearings.
However, if your child is not quite ready, there is an intermediate solution. A cot bed means that your child can stay in their familiar bed whilst enabling them to be able to get out of bed safely.
Sometimes, the arrival of a little brother or sister can be the trigger your child needs. The birth of another child can also provide a good opportunity to help the transition go smoothly (a few weeks before the newborn arrives in the home), which would enable you to use the cot for your brand new arrival.
There’s no shortage of types of cots for baby. You can find them in all sorts of colours and shapes, with storage drawers, a changing table and more. The main thing is to go for a design that meets current standards. Whichever you choose, even if somebody gives you a second-hand cot, it’s always best to buy a new anti-bacterial mattress.