Maddie’s move from her cot to her ‘big girl’ bed

My ‘little baby’ is in a big girl bed! I still cannot believe it! I have to admit, I shed a couple of tears when my husband Brett dismantled her cot and we got rid of it. There’s something about moving them out of their ‘baby’ cot and into a bed that makes them instantly grow up!

It has been just over two months since the ‘BIG MOVE’ and I promised to share our experience and give you some (hopefully) helpful tips!

So here it is:

While the signs of readiness can include;

  • Climbing out of the cot
  • Your toddler looks uncomfortable in his or her cot and has clearly ‘out grown’ it
  • They keep waking themselves up by bumping themselves awake when moving around in the cot or turning over
  • Your toddler is potting training and you need him or her to be able to get to the toilet easily during the night
  • You have a new baby who needs the cot

For us, there personally weren’t any ‘signs’ as per say of readiness. Maddie was 23-months and I simply couldn’t wait to scrap the ‘baby room’ and gift her with a ‘big girl’ room in time for her second birthday.

Okay, there were a few other factors that played apart… we had taken two trips away and noticed that Maddie expressed interest in sleeping in our bed (or at least falling asleep in our bed) and both Brett and I quite enjoyed having her close and lying with her in the bed.


Maddie is a small toddler. She was just over 12kgs at her last weigh in so it was not that she was getting large for her cot or that she was uncomfortable cause her Sleepyhead made sure she was sleeping pretty. A bed just made sense for us after a couple of nights Maddie insisted on us ‘watching’ her fall asleep which two or three times meant us holding her hand (and us lying on the floor next to her cot and creeping out without waking her.

I have been OBSESSED with house frame beds since I first saw one pop up on my Instagram feed years ago. I had a four post bed with beautiful lace draping when I was  little and I loved my bed! Choosing a house frame bed was an absolute no brainer for me. Choosing the company was a no brainer too. If you haven’t come across Tongue and Groove Decor on Facebook or Instagram – go do yourself a favour and check them out. They are a Durban North based wooden furniture manufacturer who work with all types of wood and can pretty much make anything, personalise anything and blow your socks off with their innovative designs and excellent workmanship!


I dealt with Taryn, the owner personally over email. All our communication regarding the workmanship of my custom made 3/4 raised bed was discussed clearly and efficiently and in under three weeks Maddie’s beautiful new house frame bed made from A grade pine (with no knots) sprayed with a sandling sealer and painted with white Duco paint to give it a smooth finish was personally delivered to our home by Taryn and two of her workman and set up in Maddie’s room in under 20 minutes. I was blown away!

You have to admit it is truly beautiful!

YES! We have been blessed with a child who loves her sleep. She has slept through since six weeks and has never (to date) had any sort of sleep regression so the thought of moving her from a situation that works and isn’t ‘broken’ as per say was a decision Brett and I wrestled with but the inevitable was that she eventually needed to make the move eventually so we just had to do it!

We got our mattress a day before our bed was due to be delivered so Brett dismantled the cot and placed the mattress on the floor. We thought it might be a good idea to let her sleep on the mattress for a night before putting her on the bed as we figured if she did fall out that it would be a shorter fall than the hight of the mattress and the raised bed.

Did she fall out? Yes! Did she wake up? No! But when I noticed her lying on the floor in the video monitor, she was lying on the cold tiles and I felt bad so tried to lift her up and place her back in bed. She then woke up and wanted to get into our bed. The first night didn’t look promising for us!

Putting Maddie into her bed (mattress and frame) the night it arrived we ended up having to lie with her (which was so amazing – her mattress from Henwood Beds is amazing! Maddie officially has a better mattress than her parents! We didn’t mind lying with her as we saw it as quality time together in which we read a couple of books with her lying in our arms, we sang songs and chatted and eventually ‘we’d’ sleep. Once Maddie was asleep we’d climb off the bed, pop the bed railing up (we started with two as her bed is pushed against the wall – one on the side in the middle of the bed and one at the end of the bed which we ended up taking off two or three weeks in as we discovered we didn’t need it anymore) and we’d close the door she slept fine the entire night. We luckily have a monitor with video so we could see if she got off the bed or was standing at the door.

One thing we did have to do was pack away anything dangerous as well as all the books with paper pages and left the cardboard page books behind for her to read as they would land up in her bed torn to shreds (sadly a true story – we learnt our lesson).

This is a hard one because moving your toddler from their cot into a bed isn’t a copy and paste solution. Every kid sleeps so differently in their different environments so what worked for us may not work for yours.

Maddie has always been a good sleeper. Yes there has been the different stages which we have worked through such as when she started pulling herself up to stand in her cot but we have overcome the challenges and she’s persistently slept in her own room since three months and has slept through. A HUGE reason why I think she has been a good sleeper is because of her Sleepyhead which she has used since she was a couple of weeks old. You can read my review of the Deluxe pod here and the Grand pod here. The sleeping pod has really helped her maintain the same safe, snug and comfortable environment she has known since she was only a few short weeks. Now with the move from her cot to the bed, it was as simple as moving the Sleepyhead from the cot into the bed and that’s it!


I know what your next question will be… but does she stay asleep in the Sleepyhead when she has a whole 3/4 bed to move around on? Funny enough yes, we rarely find her asleep anywhere other than in her Sleepyhead. Even when she climbs into bed herself, she always gets into her Sleepyhead. So it has been a huge credit to Sleepyhead for the success of the cot to bed transfer. It is her ‘safe’ space and has probably been a huge factor in her not falling out of the bed!

Maddie has always been put to bed happily awake and left to put herself to sleep with a book. A fear of ours would be that she would climb out of the bed and not get back in when she needed to eventually go down but luckily that hasn’t been the case.


That being said, some advice I can offer that will hopefully be of assistance to you is:


  • For the first few nights / weeks place pillows or soft toys around the bed if you are worried about them falling out. We used Maddie’s mattress from the cot on the floor for a couple of nights.
  • Pack away any small objects that pose the risk of choking or poisoning your child such as medicines, cleaning fluids or small objects like batteries.
  • Take note of any furniture or other heavy objects that could endanger your child when left alone in the room
  • If your toddler wears a baby sleeping bag in the cot, reconsider if you’ll keep using it once they start sleeping in a bed. There’s a higher risk of falls and injuries when they are in a baby sleeping bags in bed.

Emotional and setting a new routines:

  • Give your child positive associations with his or her new bed such as a bedtime story, a cuddle from mom and dad and special bonding time with them too.
  • Tell him or her that sleeping in their new bed is exciting but it is the same as sleeping in his cot and that he must close his eyes and rest after the story and cuddle.
  • Tell your toddler how proud you are and how much of a big girl / boy they are that they are in their big girl/boy bed.
  • Involve your toddler in helping choose the bed, the bedding and let them set up the new bed.
  • Maintain their ‘quiet time’ before bed. So pack away toys and prepare the bedroom as a place of quiet rest, rather than somewhere exciting. For us, Maddie’s room is a place where she gets changed and sleeps. She has a separate playroom and she doesn’t play in her room so her room is a place of calm for her.
  • Maintain their familiarity in ensuring your child’s comforts get moved with them such as their blankie and soft toys. In Maddie’s case – her Sleepyhead.
  • Encourage your toddler to climb into his or her bed themselves, pull up their own bedding and arrange their pillows how they want – it will help them feel more settled.
  • Once you have read their bedtime story and given cuddles get out of their bed and if your child is feeling a bit apprehensive, sit on a chair next to his or her bed until he or she is asleep or happy for you to leave. As time goes on sit further from the bed and let him or her try falling asleep on his or her own.
  • Always say goodnight when leaving the room and tell them that they will go to sleep now and you will see them in the morning. It will help them feel secure.
  • Try not get frustrated if your toddler keeps following you out of their bed and don’t give in to their crying. The key is for you to ensure they feel settled and secure before leaving the room. You need to encourage positive sleep associations with his new big bed.

I really hope these tips and tricks help you in your attempt to make the ‘big move’. Maddie absolutely adores her bed and I really enjoy our special time snuggled with her on her bed. I know how emotional it can be making the big move – I had a good cry when we dismantled Maddie’s cot. It honestly made me realise how my baby isn’t such a baby anymore. So be strong mama!


House frame bed by Tounge & Groove | Taryn: 083633252 / |
Sleeping pod by Sleepyhead –


Find me online:

Instagram: @being_maddies_mom


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