As of this past weekend, we moved our last baby out of his crib. There was one point in time, when Ezra was first born, where we had three cribs in use because we had three under three. If I knew back when I was pregnant with our first what I know now, I probably would've chosen different cribs. So, in this post, I'll explain what crib is best, why I no longer recommend convertible cribs, and more!
Should I Get a Convertible Crib?
Convertible cribs are ones that can transition into more than a crib. With all three of our kids, we bought a 4-in-1 convertible crib. That meant it could be a crib, a toddler bed, a daybed, or a full-size bed. As a new pregnant mom, I assumed a convertible crib was the way to go. Now that I've purchased three convertible cribs and put three kids through them, I would not buy a convertible crib again.
In order to turn your crib into any of the other options, you have to buy additional pieces. For the crib we bought Gideon, the conversion kit to turn it into a toddler bed was $80 (shown on left below). We later bought a brand new regular wooden toddler bed off Amazon for $100 (we got it on sale for $60- shown on right below).
When it was time to put Phoebe in a big girl bed, we took one side off of her crib to use it as a daybed. Instead of purchasing the toddler rail, we simply bought a bed rail bumper for about $25 so she wouldn't fall out. It goes under the sheet and adds a little bump barrier there. It's plenty to keep them from rolling out!
We just made another big transition last weekend...the boys got bunk beds! Gideon is now 5.5-years old and Ezra is 2.5-years. Side note- The official recommendation for sleeping on a top bunk is 6-years old. We felt Gideon was close enough and the beds we got have a really solid double rail the whole way around the top, see below. He is also a very responsible child for his age and understood the safety aspect we talked to him about. Just like with anything else, not every child will be ready for bunk beds at the same time.
I don't normally recommend transitioning kids out of their cribs until after they are at least 3-years old if you can help it. However, Ezra was climbing out of his crib every single morning, but not until his Hatch* light turned green to signify that it was time to get up for the day. He has also shared a room with Gideon for about a year now, so he's has that example of staying in bed when the light is red and getting out when it turns green. Since he was climbing out every day anyway and we already had the okay-to-wake light established, we went for it!
The transition went awesome, but the point is we are now trying to sell two convertible cribs on Facebook marketplace! Phoebe has taken the toddler bed shown above that we bought off of Amazon, so we no longer need the cribs (we sold Gideon's original when we bought the toddler bed). We never had any intentions of actually turning any of them into a full-size bed (which, by the way, is $100 for the attachment plus a new mattress). I didn't realize that five years ago when I was buying these beds, though. Simply put, it's probably not likely that you're actually going to convert your child's crib into all of these other options, maybe unless you only plan to have one child or space them out a few years each.
What Crib Would I Buy?
If I could go back, I probably would've just bought a very standard, nothing special crib. I would've also looked into mini-cribs because those seem to be sufficient (although I have no personal experience with those). Our bedroom was not big enough for a full-size crib, but I suspect a mini crib would've fit for those first few months. Then I wouldn't have needed to buy a bassinet as well. One bed from the start until they go to a big bed! We're told we need a crib, a bassinet, a travel crib, a docking station, a...you get the picture. Do we really need all of that? If I could go back, I would've bought one home crib and one travel one. Simple! Did you know you can actually buy a thicker mattress for travel beds to make them more comfortable? If you're on a tight budget, you could even consider just getting one nice travel crib and mattress to use everywhere, even at home.
I also would've 100% bought used cribs if I could go back. Just today, I sold one of our like-new, in great condition convertible cribs for $80, including the mattress. That Mama got a goooood deal. And she can still turn it into a toddler bed later if she wants. She might...or she might not. A bed just sits there. There's not usually a ton of wear and tear unless you have a baby who likes to gnaw on their crib when teething (we had one of those and someone else still bought it used).
We bought the boys' bunk beds used. We spent $180 for a solid oak bed with drawers underneath. Great deal! That's about the same or even a bit cheaper than each crib we bought new. We did buy new twin mattresses (hello $89 at Walmart!). I'm so happy with everything and they are too!
So which crib is best? I'd keep it simple...and honestly, there's no shame in buying used! When it comes to a crib, you really don't need any fancy bells and whistles. Just a safe, flat sleeping surface will do! And you may not ever end up using the convertible features. Unless you're absolutely sure you will, it's not likely necessary.
What do you think? What kind of crib have you used and would you change anything if you could go back? Let me know in the comments!
~Ashley Bell, pediatric sleep consultant
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