floor-bedQ: We have just taken our 17 month old out of her cot and into a low bed and we have had more problems since doing this. She used to sleep 11 hours at night, only waking twice a week but sometimes for up to 2 hours. Where we would go to her and try and settle her, we don’t do controlled crying. We took her out hoping this would stop, but it has gotten worse.

It now takes us from 1-3 hours to get her to sleep at night, as opposed to 15 minutes and not needing to be in her room. If we let her stay up as long as she likes until she is ready it is 10pm and she doesn’t catch up on her sleep by sleeping longer that morning or the next day. I have little problems putting her to sleep during the day.

We follow the same routine day and night when going to bed, her meal, milk, reading books, then in bed to sleep. She now sleeps for only 9.5 hours at night, rather than 11 hours and she wakes usually 6 hours after she falls asleep and we have to take her back to her bed to resettle her.

We are at a loss on whether to continue her in a low bed or return her to her cot until she is a little older.

A: I would suggest several strategies for this and it is up to you which one you feel would work the best for your family. One way to make children sleep in the low bed is to make it attractive enough for them. You can put attractive bed covers and allow your child to move in and out of the bed so she can see the benefits of the low bed (freedom of movement). Also make her understand that she is moving there because she is getting older.

Another immediate way for you to get some sleep is to put your child back to sleep in the cot only at night. Continue putting your baby into the low bed during the day to slowly get her used to it. You may decide to put your child on the low bed at night a few weeks later when she is more ready. Another factor to consider is that as children get older they do not need as much sleep anymore. At your child’s age it is recommended that she sleeps for about 13 1/2 hours a day.

This may lessen the pressure on you to get her to sleep longer and be calm when putting her down. As long as she gets close the recommended hours of sleep throughout the day you should not worry if she is not sleeping as long at night. If she gets 9 ½ hours sleep at night and 2×2 hours naps during the daytime your child is getting enough sleep. When your child gets upset or tired during the day it is a sign she is not getting enough sleep.

Is the result same if you put your child down at night instead of your husband? The baby just may be clingy to mum at the moment rather than the transfer to the low bed being the problem.