Friday, September 7, 2012

The floor bed: an update

sleepy head
I get a lot of questions from friends and family about how Jake’s crib-less nursery is working for us.

A floor bed, popular in the Montessori world, is basically a crib mattress on the floor instead of in a crib. The idea is that it gives the child more freedom to view and explore surroundings. (Montessori is all about independence and exploration.)

Sounds very visually appealing, right? While I was pregnant, nesting, and longingly perusing the beautiful nursery furniture displays at baby stores, I struggled with the idea of this and how it would look in Jake’s room. But now? I don’t really think twice about its unusualness until I’m asked about it. And then it’s like, oh yeah, I kind of forgot how weird this seems to other people.

The theory of a floor bed is all well and good, but how practical is it in use?

Some advantages so far:

•    Like most babies, Jake fights sleep at bedtime. Sometimes it’s nice to lie down next to his bed and cuddle up to him or stroke his hair to soothe him to sleep.
•    He moves around a lot in his sleep. There are times a leg or an arm will be hanging off the edge of the mattress (“he’s just exploring the edge of the bed,” according to one of the Montessori guides) and I have to wonder if we’d have stuck limbs between bars if we used a traditional crib. It doesn’t seem to bother him when this happens.
•    I do love the openness of it. He’ll wake up in the morning and just happily “talk” or lie there completely chill, silently looking around the room. I think he likes the unobstructed view.

Some disadvantages:

•    He’s on the dog’s level. There have been a couple of instances when Sandy has walked up to Jake’s bed to give him kisses while he’s asleep, and I leap in what feels like slow motion to his bedside silently mouthing NOOOO to intercept an unwelcome sleep interruption from the poodle.
•     I’m still not sure how this will work when he’s mobile. At 9 ½ months old, my little man is just now on the verge of crawling. To be completely honest, it’s kind of a relief he’s taking his time with this milestone. But once he’s zipping around everywhere, how will we keep him in his bed at bedtime? Will I constantly obsess about how well his room is baby-proofed? These are bridges we’ll have to cross when we get there.

I worried a lot about him rolling off the bed in the middle of the night, but this has rarely happened.

Overall, the floor bed has worked just fine for us so far. Any other Mamas out there use a floor bed? How do you like it?

Megan Brooks is a Sr. Public Relations Specialist for Texas Health Resources, Stepmom to a 12-year-old, and Mom to a 9-month-old who will be mobile any day now.


  1. Hi! Love your updates on Jake and that sweet, sleepy picture. :) We used a floor bed with our two youngest children with great success. With a gate in the doorway (to ensure that she didn't wander into non-child-proofed areas while we were sleeping), there really isn't an issue with a mobile child. Your heart will melt when Jake, after moving around his room a bit, chooses to crawl or scoot over to his bed and lay down his head to sleep! At first, it may be mostly his head on the bed, but he'll figure it out pretty quickly. There are days, certainly, when it would be easier to drop them into a barred, enclosed crib and walk away, but that doesn't let the child learn to regulate her own sleep. If you keep the "toys" in Jake's room to minimum, especially when he begins to move more independently, there will be a few items to explore before settling down to sleep, but not as many distractions. Best wishes!

  2. Thank you so much for the tips! I love hearing about other Moms who have done this successfully!