Changing any part of a young child's routine can be daunting so we've teamed up with our favourite paediatric nurse and baby sleep expert, Hannah Love for a fuss-free way to move your little one from a sleep bag to a toddler bed and duvet.
Hannah has spent the last 25 years helping families with their babies and children. In her twenties she completed three university courses - in Paediatric Nursing, Nutritional Therapy and Cranial Sacral Therapy, whilst travelling the world nannying for pro golfers.
Hannah firmly believes that each family is individual and so is every baby – and she isn’t there to tell you how to raise your family, but to support you to find a solution if what you are doing isn’t working for you right now. Her confident, positive, gentle and most of all effective approach has ensured that families recommend her all over the world and have come back for second and third babies (even before they are born!).
Here she shares with us how we can make the move from a sleeping bag to bedding. Over the past decade baby sleeping bags have become increasingly popular as a convenient bedding option for parents. Sleep bags help babies sleep well as they can’t kick them off, unlike traditional blankets, which can sometimes lead to babies waking as they get cold.
"The use of sleep bags is also supported by safe sleep guidelines. This view is supported by the Lullaby trust. This isn’t only because sleep bags are less likely to go over your babies head but also because of temperature control, which is easily adhered to by following the thickness, often referred to as ‘tog’, guidelines."
Bloomsbury Mill have a beautiful range of organic muslin sleep bags available in two sizes 0-6 and 6-18 months and two tog ratings (1 tog for summer and 2.5 tog for all seasons ), that offer peace of mind to parents.
Because of all of the above reasons, as well as babies moving around a lot in their sleep, sleep bags definitely work well for small babies. So, how do you prepare a baby for the move to duvet, big bed and away from needing a sleep bag? Prior to this transition, it would be a good start if they are less mobile overnight and not kick their covers off. There are a number of stages to consider that might help with this transition.
Transition to a bed:
Until around 12-18 months safe sleep guidelines recommend a clear cot, from this point you can introduce a baby safe pillow. The advantage of a pillow is that it encourages a baby to sleep at one end of the cot, rather than move around like they may have done previously. Therefore the first step I would recommend in the transition from sleeping bag to duvet is to introduce a pillow.
Once your baby reaches about 18 months, I would consider introducing a cot duvet along with the pillow. This can initially be done for nap times only. Bloomsbury Mill's vibrant cot bed duvets will help make the transition more fun and less daunting. Digger enthusiasts will love the construction vehicles
design while the woodland animals
design is perfect for little nature explorers. Rather than using a sleeping bag for naps, put your baby into the cot with their duvet and pillow to get them used to sleeping with them at nap times. The advantage of starting with naps first, rather than overnight sleep is they can get used to the change without impacting their overnight sleeping.
Once your baby is managing to stay in one place and sleeping well in the daytime for naps, using the duvet and pillow, then you can continue this to the overnight sleep. Some toddlers may ask for the duvet to be used overnight at this stage and not want the sleeping bag. Choosing a duvet and pillow pattern with a vibrant and imaginative print like Bloomsbury Mill's cot bed duvets can help make the transition more fun and less daunting. Digger enthusiasts will love the construction vehicles
design while the woodland animals
design is perfect for little nature explorers. If they do kick it off then they will likely just call out for you to pop it back on, so there is no immediate health risk with a baby’s overnight temperature being lower.
Once your baby is sleeping well, with their duvet and pillow, in the cot, enjoy it! I am often asked about the ideal time to move a baby into their big bed. My answer is always ‘leave it as long as possible!”. Moving a baby into a big bed too early can often have a less than desirable outcome; even a toddler that has previously been sleeping and settling well might start thinking 3am is party time!
The only exception to this is if your baby learns to climb out their cot. If this is happening, then you must move them into a bed for safety reasons. If your baby is extremely mobile, a natural climber, this would be a reason to keep them in a sleeping bag for longer; it is harder to climb in one!
If your baby isn’t showing any sign of wanting to move from their cot by about 3 years old I would advise transitioning them by then, not only because they will be heavier to lift in and out but you will want to be thinking about taking night time nappies off at some point around then. In order to do this they will need to be able to get out of bed to use the potty or toilet. If your baby has been in a duvet for a little while by this point the transition should be easy. Simply transfer their pillow and duvet to the new ‘big’ bed and they should transfer their skill of sleeping to their new bed pretty easily.
So there you have it, hopefully super helpful?