Parents are Ditching the Crib for a Floor Bedby Elizabeth MacDonald
The first item most parents invest in when pregnant tends to be a crib, but today’s families are leaning towards a different approach to the baby bed: a mattress on the floor.
A floor bed may sound strange, but a quick search will have you wondering if it isn’t brilliant.
The Montessori Floor Bed
The Montessori approach to parenting emphasizes independence and self-direction from a young age. One of the main differences between a Montessori philosophy and traditional parenting during the baby and toddler stage is the use of a crib. In the Montessori method, a crib is not used, and instead, a mattress is placed on the floor in the child's room. This approach allows the child to move freely and explore their environment safely.
While this may sound dangerous to you, let’s breakdown the process. As a newborn, a baby should sleep within arm’s reach of Mom, whether she chooses to use a bassinet, co-sleeper, crib in her room or to bedshare safely. This encourages the feeling of security, a strong bond, and the ability to sense if something is wrong. Once Baby starts rolling or parents are ready to transition to a separate room, a floor bed is used. Traditionally, this occurs between 5 months and a year old.
Supporters of the Montessori approach state that the use of a crib limits a child's independence. They also believe that a mattress on the floor allows a child to develop important gross motor skills, such as crawling and walking, at their own pace. Floor beds also allow for more natural sleep patterns. Babies can wake up and fall asleep on their own schedule, without being confined to a structured sleep routine. This can help to promote healthy sleep habits and a more restful night's sleep for both the babies and parents. This setup can potentially reduce the risk of injury from a fall out of a crib or having a limb stuck in the railings. A floor bed also makes for easy snuggling, bedtime reading, and transitions if Baby falls asleep elsewhere.
Before jumping in, learn more about the Montessori method and how to properly babyproof the room in which the floor bed will be placed. As with every aspect of parenting, this requires research and gut intuition!