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Second Crib vs. Toddler Bed

Second Crib vs. Toddler Bed

By Amalah

Hi Amy!

I just found out that I’m pregnant with baby number two (yayyyyy!!!). This nugget will be born next spring, three weeks before my son turns two. Things are amazing and baby is so happily expected and we can’t wait to have a family of four.

I’m a little worried though, because since I pounced on my husband at six in the morning with a positive pregnancy test all he’s had on his mind is changing things pretty dramatically for our son. Some of it I can get behind. Moving him to the bigger room down the hall and keeping the smaller room the “nursery”? Fine! Moving his car seat over so we can see the newborn easier? I’m on board.

What I’ve totally put my foot down on, though, is giving the new baby my son’s crib and getting him a new bed. I mean, it’s his bed!! We bought one of those convertible-type cribs and even bought all of the extra parts you need to go to toddler and full size bed so we’d have them years later. This is supposed to be the bed he grows up in! Husband keeps telling me he doesn’t understand why we’d buy another crib when we can just buy a toddler bed. I keep telling him we have a @#$%^& toddler bed already! All we have to do is convert it when baby is ready! Argh! And wouldn’t buying a toddler bed necessitate yet another purchase in a few years once he grows out of it? Oh yeah, we also have a full size bed conversion!! Argh again!

So other than the weird logic my husband is employing, I’m worried about changing his bed for a few reasons. First, I know having a new baby in the house is going to be a big deal for my son. He’s pretty independent but that’s a lot of change for a not-even-two-year-old right? I read (stalked) your archives recently and I saw that Noah had a hard time at first and he was three! I don’t want it to seem like the new baby is taking over everything in the world, even his motherf-ing bed!

Second, I’m just not convinced my son will be ready for a toddler bed by then. He has shown not ONE iota of a sign that he wants to get out of his crib (he’s 16 months right now). He doesn’t try to climb out and he doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to exit the cage when I get him once he wakes up. In fact, I think he really likes it in there. It’s like his sanctuary. He’s comfortable in there and sleeps really well.

Third, and this is like the big one for me. The kid MOVES while he’s asleep and while he’s falling asleep. I mean he must travel over a mile before he goes to sleep because he tosses and turns to calm himself down. Not only do I think he’ll probably fall out of the bed if it only has a wimpy toddler railing on it, but OMG getting him to stay in it long enough to fall asleep is not something I can take on as a heavily pregnant lady or with a newborn. Like, I can’t even.

So! What would you do in this situation? I’d just like to buy another convertible bed and all of the parts again because I thought it was a fabulous plan! Will taking my son’s bed and giving it to the squawking intruder damage him or is this my crazy worrying hormones? Talk me down if needed, girl!

(Almost) mama of two
Haaaaa, what timing! I love when questions arrive in my inbox that dovetail perfectly with stuff happening in my own life.

We gave away our crib last weekend. A crib that had served all three of our babies with honor, dignity and blissful confinement. It was technically a convertible crib — we never bought the conversion kit, though, and I couldn’t even say for sure if it’s still available, as the crib is over nine years old at this point. Plus the bedroom is very small and we ended up needing a loft style bed for our oldest to accommodate a desk and some storage YADA YADA NOT EVEN THE POINT.

My point is, we gave it away to friends who are expecting their second baby this winter. Their first baby will only be about 20 months old when his baby brother arrives. And yeah, their first baby is staying in his damn crib. They have absolutely no intention to rush him into a toddler or full-sized bed anytime soon, and I think that is a wise, WISE decision.

We did upgrade our boys to beds so the crib would be vacant by the time the next baby arrived, but we were dealing with a different age spread (3 and 2.5) than “just under two.” And obviously, different kids. My oldest two were good, reliable, heavy sleepers who stayed relatively still on their mattresses. But they were also making attempts to climb out of the crib. Okay then! Out you go.

AND THEN. I had my third. Who stayed in that blessed, wonderful crib until after his third birthday, and still took most of his naps there too.

It. Was. Glorious.

Great, reliable bedtimes and sleep patterns. Less fighting of sleep and naps. No pre-dawn wanderings. He didn’t mind being in the crib, he never tried to climb out, and so I left him in there for as long as humanly possible. I finally caved when when it was clear he was fully potty trained, even at night, and he’d wake up crying for someone to take him to the potty. Point of no return, I guess.

So. For what it is worth (hint: probably nothing), you can tell your husband that some weird person from the Internet agrees with you. Keep your son in his crib, for all of the reasons you mentioned. He’s young. He might not be ready, and waiting until too close to New Baby Time will probably be too much change all at once. (Have you read Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats? It’s about a [much] older brother’s resentment over a new baby getting all his old stuff. Very sweet, but yeah, it’s a real feeling for kids!)

And toddler beds are, in many cases, a completely temporary and skippable expense. If you wait until he’s older and ready, he can go directly from crib to “real” bed (just attach a removable guardrail at first). You might not even need the middle conversion setting, so buying a non-upgradeable toddler bed (plus mattress) and THEN a full-size bed (plus mattress) isn’t really a win over just buying (or borrowing, or Craigslisting) another crib.

FINALLY, dear God, you’re bringing home a newborn who — be definition — is not going to sleep. You’re not going to sleep. You’re going to NEED your son to sleep. Not the best time to be suddenly trying to keep him in a bed without bars, exploring his room, the house, what your eyeballs look like under your sleeping eyelids, etc.

You definitely win this argument from where I sit, but I guess I should  point out that “next spring” means you guys have a LOT of time here. There is definitely no reason to make any furniture purchases anytime soon, so while I’m totally on board with your plan, a lot can happen. Maybe your son WILL seem ready and willing to move into the big boy bed in a few months. Maybe once it’s a toddler bed he won’t even notice or care if you swap it out with something else and let the baby have it. So table this discussion for now, but once it comes up again and you’re still at an impasse, feel free to print this column out and say “AMY AGREES WITH ME.”

Published August 16, 2014. Last updated January 21, 2018.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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