If you have chosen to use a bassinette or a cradle for the first few months, the transition to a cot can be daunting, but don't worry. You'll probably experience a bigger upheaval when your child out-grows his cot and moves into a 'big bed'.
At around three months of age the bassinette will become too small to allow your baby to wriggle and move, which is normal at this stage of development. If you have had your baby in your room, you might want to consider moving her to her own room at the same time.
Some parents become anxious about these changes and worry that their baby will not settle and sleep in the new surrounds. Providing you continue your usual bedtime ritual, and are consistent in your approach to settling, you will usually have no problems with the transition.
Somewhere between two and three years of age, your toddler will be ready to move to a big bed. Some toddlers make this transition smoothly, others don't.
If you have a cot where you can lower the level of the cot mattress to bed height and lower the level of the cot side, so it's just high enough to prevent her from rolling out, this will help prepare your toddler for this event.
Some parents also find it helps to sleep their toddler on a mattress on the floor at first - this way they get used to the size, and there's not too far to fall!
You may consider purchasing a sidebar to prevent your toddler rolling out as this is often the main problem with this move.
You can also help by making it a special occasion. Put the bed in her room for some weeks before you attempt to put her into it. Tell her that it's hers and she can sleep in it when she is ready.
Take her shopping and buy a new bed cover featuring her favourite animals or cartoon characters. Make the bed up and tell her she can sleep in it whenever she wants.
Lie on the new bed together to read a book. On the day you feel she is sufficiently interested and ready to try the bed, settle her in the bed using your usual settling technique such as reading a book and a cuddle.
Tuck her in, make sure she has her favourite soft toy with her, and say goodnight. You might need to stay for a few minutes until she settles or stand in the doorway to reassure her.
If she jumps out of bed, return her to bed calmly. It may take a few nights for her to get used to the change. Be patient!
Some children will be so excited about being so 'grown-up' and having a 'big bed' they'll want to stay in it. You may even find on the first few nights in her own big bed, she can't wait to go to bed in the evening (this too will pass).
Reviewed & Edited By Lindy Danvers and Sue Prescott