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We do things a little differently around here, a little granola, a little hippy. Cloth diapering (blog post), elimination communication (blog post), and other Montessori things, like these developmental subscription toys and now, NO CRIB (this blog has 9 things you'll want to know)!
We have been doing a Montessori floor bed for about a year. And, I can honestly say I am SO glad we decided to skip the crib. It works great for our family. It saved money, I can side nurse her to sleep and she has independence in her -childproofed- room. I made an Amazon Store for things you might consider buying to childproof if you're considering this.
Our daughter is 13 months now and we've been doing this and cosleeping (blog for what to know to do it safely) since she was born.
In this blog, I'm going to tell you about our experience without a crib, using a floor bed, and what I have learned after a year of doing it!
Why we do not have a crib
We started the nursery with a crib but for the first few months and it never got used. She slept in our room for the first few months. Around 4 months I learned, I should start “putting her down for a nap” instead of just letting her fall asleep wherever she was.
That's about the same time I learned about what wake windows were and sleepy cues were. (PLEASE click on these links if you do not know what they are. It was SOOO helpful to learn when baby was tired). Now that I know all this, with baby number two we will do things a little bit differently. By simply following their sleep cues, knowing when their wake windows are and putting them down in their room sooner.
I did try putting her down in a crib a couple of times. However, her legs would get stuck in the sides and she didn't love it. Then, I thought maybe we can just put a bed on the floor, that way I could side nurse her to sleep! Some people are not a fan of the “nurse to sleep” but it worked for us and I'm very much of the mindset that every family is different and you should do whatever works best for your family! I support you, Ma, whatever you're doing.
How we got started with the floor bed
So, I'll tell you a little bit more about our experience. We started when I put her crib mattress on the floor so I could nurse her to sleep. Then, it was too much having the crib AND the mattress in the room so I ditched the crib. I dug a bit and learned that this is actually a developmental “thing” called a Montessori floor bed (my blog post here). It helps babe with independence and spatial awareness. You can even put up a mirror so they can see themselves and the room behind them.
When babies start to get mobile, it begins to be a little more complicated. I did a room tour of our (NOT pinterest worthy room in our old home). You want to make sure the room is baby-proof completely so they can roam around and explore if they want.
When we started, I watched a bunch of videos and did research to make sure we did it safely. If you’re interested in a floor bed, I would highly recommend watching these videos on YouTube. She's a huge resource for Montessori at home.
I'm so glad we did this when she slept:
Our daughter has a floor bed in her room for naps and we also co-sleep and bed share. However, even when I'm putting her down for the night, I always put her to bed on her floor bed. We do the same routine as a nap and if she wakes in the night (she still does every night at 13 months) I bring her into our bed. We recently have stopped nursing at night (blog post about how we did that here) and only nurse “when the sun shines”.
With the floor bed, the whole point is that the whole room is childproof. So, if they wake up and they're content, they can just crawl around their room and play. They can explore their room and get some independence without you having to worry that they're not safe
No Crib regrets:
Really, the only regret that I have is making her room too dark. I was told your baby's room should be pitch black… Like, put your hand in front of your face and you shouldn't see it. That's one thing I wish I hadn't done. I wish she had learned to fall asleep with a little bit of light in her room because it makes traveling a bit more difficult.
What you need for a nursery with no crib:
You can do a twin or a full. If you want to just go for the full and then that can be their bed when they're older, great! I'd suggest adding a high pile rug or play mat (we use a camping mat we had) next to the bed. Babe will eventually roll out, it's not very high, they're just fine and they learn quickly where the edge of the bed is!
or Mattress topper
We got a nontoxic mattress topper instead of a bed that is 3 inches thick and love it. However, a hard mattress is recommended. You decide for your family.
2. Mattress protector
Babies have a lot of liquids: Pee, spit-up, blowouts, our mom leakage (my breastfeeding tips here). So, you're going to want a mattress protector. Since we use a mattress pad and not a full mattress, I've had a hard time finding something that fits around (I actually bought this wool mattress protector when I bought the pad because it's nontoxic but not machine washable, woof).
I've also been looking at a wool puddle pad for our bed and I found this one, wool options are always much more expensive. A lot of waterproof items use chemicals and I felt weird about having my babe sleeping on them. but nontoxic options tend to be much more expensive. If this is something you think about I wrote an entire blog on non-toxic car seat options in the US.
3. Floor Bed, Bed Frame
If you want to make your room a little cuter or if you live in a warm climate, you can get super cute Montessori bed frames. We don't have one yet, but will eventually get her one because just make the room look nicer.
6. A camera that moves crucial in a nursery with no crib!
If you'll use a baby monitor, choosing one that can swivel is a must. Ours does this, plus has the ability to have two cameras connected to one monitor! It also doesn't connect to the wifi, these features were important so us because we want to have more kids! I will say the temperature is often way off but that doesn't' bother me much.
7. Acrylic Mirror (optional)
Mirrors are recommended to help babies see themselves and their room. For a while, I was using one from my Lovevery Kit and it worked great. Acrylic mirrors are more expensive but they're safer because they don't shatter. Even safer if you can secure the mirror to the wall.
So, some people have said, “Great. You put your kid on a bed on the floor, but what happens when they learn to open the door? Are you just going to lock your kid inside the door?”. Some parents do.
Another option is putting a gate outside of the door.
I own these gates and love them all for different reasons:
The first one is a static gate and good for where you might have a gate always up (bedroom door).
Second, we use at the top of the stairs. It opens so you don't have to take it down or try and step over it.
Third, the retractable gate is great because it takes up the least amount of space and can span wider than most gates. However, it feels the least secure, so we use it to divide a room, less for safety and more for containment.
9. Baby Proof the room, if you do not have a crib
You must make sure that the entire room is baby-proofed (amazon store with a list of suggested items)!
– baby proof outlet covers for empty plugs
– Outlet covers for plugged-in things
– Cover the wires
10. Lovevery Play Gym
I am a HUGE fan of Lovevery and everything they do. If you've never heard of Lovevery, they are a Montessori developmental toy subscription company. They send you monthly boxes with age-appropriate developmental Montessori toys to help your baby learn. I love them because they are all non-toxic, and they come with a little book to explain how to best use the toys at each developmental stage.
11. Sound Machine (Crib or No Crib, this is a must)
Sound machines are great for every baby room. This is the one we use and love. Make sure you cover the plugin and cord!
California Beach Co (code HEYSHAYLA for extra 10%)
Another question we get is what do we do when we travel? Typically I lay a blanket on the floor and she sleeps on that until it's time for me to go to bed and then she'll sleep with me. A pack and play could work, but I prefer the California Beach Co. They weigh way less than a pack and play, they are sooo easy to put up and take down (here's my one-minute video showing it). I'm an ambassador for them and my code HEYSHAYLA gives you an EXTRA 10% off whatever sale they're running!
So, overall, after a year of doing a floor bed, I think it's such a great thing and I hope this blog is helpful in making you feel ready to give it a try!.
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All linked items here on my amazon store.