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No crib

Lillia has no crib. She sleeps on a mattress on the floor, which is also called a "Montessori child bed." I'd love to say that it was a carefully thought out decision because I'm such a huge Montessori evangelist, but the real reason behind the setup is that when Lillia graduated out of our bed, I went to put together my old crib¹ and found it was missing pieces. We didn't have enough time to get a new crib, so we just put her mattress on the floor. We exchanged the crib mattress for a twin-sized mattress, so there's room for us to lie with her at bedtime (more on this below).

Lillia's child bed

I had read about the Montessori child bed concept (in a book I highly recommend to all parents of < 3 year olds) and thought it was interesting, but wasn't sure if it was right for our family. It seems pretty far down the Montessori rabbit hole, when we're less interested in being tied to one particular parental dogma.²

Lillia's room is Tier-1 childproofed anyway, so we figured she could get in and out of bed when she was able. The belief is that when a child can do this (and has a better view of their surroundings), they become more calm. A calm baby is a baby ready to learn throughout the day (see Brain Rules For Baby for the research behind this). People often comment on how calm yet alert Lillia is, and while I'm not ready to give all the credit to nurture over nature (i.e. having chillaxed parents), her bedroom setup couldn't be hurting.

Along with this, there are some other benefits:

* When she wakes up in the morning, she can play with toys so she doesn't cry out right away (sometimes she chooses to cry right away anyway).
* When we put her to bed or when she wakes up in the night, Venessa or I can lie down beside her.
* No chance of crib-related injuries (climbing out, limbs caught in the frame, etc)
* One less baby item to buy, maintain, and either store for the next child or get rid of it

Lillia asleep in bed

The child bed isn't without its drawbacks, however. So far we've experienced the following:

* When she doesn't want to nap, she just gets out of bed and plays with toys (which is a mixed blessing, since when a child in a crib doesn't want to nap, she cries or tries to climb out)
* Sometimes she rolls out of bed. We put pillows around the bed to prevent injury but it can still wake her up and startle her.
* There's a small area of the bed, adjacent to the wall, where the mattress tapers in height and slants down. When Lillia was younger, she used to get "stuck" here when she rolled all the way to the wall. This lasted for the couple-month phase between the time she got really good at rolling over and the time she got really good at sitting up. This is probably our fault for graduating her to a twin-sized mattress too soon.

This setup isn't for every family, but I'm glad we were sort of pushed into it by my lack of crib preparation. If you're curious about it, I encourage you to read Montessori From the Start, especially the chapter on sleep. Or you can ask me about it. I'm sure I've forgotten some pros and cons. Here's a bonus photo of Lillia:


¹ as in, the crib I slept in as a child. One of the boys used it too.

² and I learned to pick my Montessori battles after unsuccessfully trying to get rid of all Lillia's "fantasy" toys, something that Montessori suggests for children not yet in the second plane of development. For reasons I have trouble articulating.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 31st, 2011 01:02 am (UTC)
Why the lack of stuff on the wall in her room? It kinda seems like a room she's squatting in rather than a bedroom. :-P
Aug. 31st, 2011 04:55 pm (UTC)
Aug. 31st, 2011 03:17 am (UTC)
We are also unplanned rockers of the Montessori bed. I had intended to have transition Niko from our bed to a crib, but he was adamantly against being in a crib.

The problem for us is that he's also adamantly against sleeping alone. So I don't really see how his floor futon is ever going to foster independence. The very moment he realizes he's alone in bed, he cries. He's got no interest in the slim selection of books and toys we have in his room unless we are playing with those things with him. Also, aside from freaking out if he's ever alone- I'd say he's a calm baby. I attribute that to the fact that he trusts we love him.

As for the bed- I worry buster and I will never sleep alone again. Our futon is full sized, and we generally take turns sleeping with dude in it.
Aug. 31st, 2011 05:02 pm (UTC)
Aw, poor guy. He gets lonely, I can't blame him. Lillia has a similar problem but mostly in the middle of the night. She wakes up crying and needs one of us next to her to help her fall asleep. Sometimes she won't calm down if I go in, it has to be Venessa and her magic milk.

Have you read The No-Cry Sleep Solution? We're trying to use the technique in that book where you slowly "back off" by leaving before Lillia is completely asleep, then when that's going fine, leaving a bit sooner, then just sitting next to her, then just going in the room, then just standing in the doorway. That's the idea anyway, since we seem to be stuck on step 1 or 2!

I have a friend who co-slept with her parents for 12 years! She turned out OK. Her parents are saints.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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