Why My Baby Sleeps on the Floor

My Baby Sleeps on the FloorMy Baby Sleeps on the FloorWalking into our nursery you'd find the usual nursery items: dresser, wall art, stuffed toys…but what you wouldn't find would seem like the most obvious of nursery items; a crib.

The initial reaction of most people is confusion: "Wait…where's the crib?"

When we inform them that the mattress on the floor in front of them is where our baby sleeps instead of in a crib, even more confusion ensues. I'm pretty sure our parents thought we were crazy when we first told them about it. They even offered to buy us a crib, but we assured them that this was not a financial decision (although it is an added bonus).

Related: 7 safe co-sleeping tips for you and baby

Before becoming a full-time mom I was a preschool teacher and while our school wasn't strictly a Montessori school, we still applied many of the same principles. One of which was creating an environment that was geared toward children in order to help them better explore their environment. All of the activities were out where children could reach them, photos were placed at their eye level, art materials were non-directed and manipulative activities were open-ended and I loved seeing how children were able to flourish in this environment created specifically with them in mind. Because of this I decided to explore some of the Montessori principles when setting up Fern's nursery.

One of the ideas that I discovered in my research was the idea of a floor bed. Instead of putting babies in cribs, Montessori suggests allowing them to sleep on a floor bed so that once they are mobile they can get up and explore their environment freely. Many parents who use floor beds note that the freedom the floor bed allows gives them more time to sleep in, since their children are able to explore and are thus self-entertained when they wake up. Obviously there is a lot of baby proofing required as well as other things to take into consideration, but overall the idea sounded great to me!

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Aside from the fact that I appreciate the Montessori approach, there were other more practical considerations that came into play as well when deciding to go this route for Fern's sleeping arrangements:

1. It saves money
We didn't have to spend a ton of money on a crib (though I'm sure our parents would've gotten us one if we'd wanted it) that Fern will obviously quickly outgrow. We had planned to just buy a twin mattress right away so we could also save money there instead of starting her on a crib mattress and having to upgrade later, but someone ended up giving us a crib mattress, so we started with that since it was free - a very good price.

2. It saves space
Cribs can be kind of big and bulky in my opinion and all of the more streamlined, attractive cribs were way out of our budget. What can I say? I have champagne tastes and a beer budget. Also, not having to work around a large crib makes the room feel a lot more open with space for Fern to play.

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3. It saves my sanity
Middle of the night feedings are a cinch with a floor bed. All I have to do is lay down next to Fern and nurse her. I don't have to pick her up (though I sometimes do anyway) and lay her down again, which always seemed to wake her up when I was putting her in her co-sleeper. She'd wake up in a crying fit and I'd have to start all over trying to get her back to sleep. When we were co-sleeping/bed sharing it would take me anywhere from 2-3 hours to get her back to sleep when she woke up, but now she'll nurse for about 15 minutes and fall right back to sleep. It's kind of magical and we all get such better sleep!

Fern has been on her floor bed for about a month so far and we have nothing but glowing reviews. Obviously at just under three months of age, she isn't mobile yet, which makes this process much easier from a parent's perspective, but I'm hoping that by the time she's mobile she'll be used to her bed and there won't be as big of a transition. And…in the end if it ends up being a disaster and making us miserable then we can always just throw in the towel and buy a crib!

- By Lauren Hartmann
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