Monday, December 6, 2010

Montessori Floor Bed


Matt and I have definitely decided to go the Montessori floor bed route rather than get a crib because the idea resonates with us for a couple different reasons:
  1. We're eager to help our child develop independence, and a floor bed is designed to do just that. The entire room is designed to be as safe as a crib would be (it's usually closed off from the rest of the house with a secure gate). That way, when the child wakes up, s/he can simply start playing in his/her room.
  2. Buying a mattress rather than a crib + a mattress helps us save money and is better for the environment because we're using less stuff.

The challenge is going to be figuring out what size mattress to start with, so that we minimize the number of mattresses we need to get through the years. Because our house is so small right now, we can't get anything bigger than a crib-sized mattress. With the sleeper sofa in the baby's room, a crib-sized mattress will just barely fit (and that's because we are using a tiny desk in that room). We could go with an even smaller portable crib mattress, but once we do move into a larger house, we would need to buy a new mattress.

So it probably makes sense to go with a regular sized crib mattress right now and then upgrade to a bed-sized mattress when our child is old enough to get out of bed and walk (instead of rolling). At that point, we could make the switch to a low platform bed and use that for years.

The next question is whether we opt for an eco-friendly mattress or an IKEA mattress. The former costs hundreds of dollars, while the latter starts at $35. Of course, it's inaccurate to just compare price tags. If the IKEA mattress is made with materials that cause cancer or lead to other health risks, then its "cost" is actually much, much more.

I hate having to make such trade-offs!



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18 comments:

Jennie said...

We've been having the same debate about a cheap mattress vs. an eco-friendly one. If you find anything that's in between and not chock full of chemicals, let us know!

Anonymous said...

what about a natural fiber mattress? And co-sleeping?

Kelsey said...

Do you have any good web or print based resources for floor bed-sleeping? I really like the encouraging independece idea but I'm wondering about implementation: how early can they sleep in a floor bed? is there concern that infants will roll out onto the floor?

Annalisa DeMarta said...

I think we are going to order this soy/foam mattress from costco --

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11506388

It seems to be well rated, earth friendly, and only $120!

I'm curious, what goes around the bed to keep the baby from rolling off? When they are little and roll off (say 8 mos. or so) can they suffocate from the padding around the bed or are they strong enough to lift their body/face? I don't know much about the mattress of the floor idea but it does interest me.

Amy said...

Do you have medical resources that show the safety statistics for sleeping on the floor? Perhaps from the Consumer Protection Bureau or Safety Bureau, whatever they're called? I'm fine with whatever option people want to use, but I think you had better make sure you've thought this through from a safety perspective. Will it be far from the wall and from the couch so he can't get to the edge, move the mattress slightly with his weight, wedge himself between the wall and mattress and suffocate? That's why you need a tight bed to mattress fit. How about loose sheet edges? Loose anything? I'm all for independence, but please put your child's safety first. Also, have you thought about what you're going to do for the first several weeks when you may just want to roll over and grab him from a co-sleeper to nurse rather than walk to another room? Not sure if any of your friends have had that experience, but a good friend of mine just went that route for the first 8 weeks.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, All! I'm eager to chat more about the Montessori floor bed.

1. Matt and I are going to be co-sleeping with our baby for as long as it feels right to us. Co-sleeping makes a lot of sense to me for bonding, assurance that everything is okay with the baby, and ease of breastfeeding in the night. For co-sleeping, we will be attaching something to the side of our bed (we just put the arm's reach co-sleeper on our registry) because we have a queen-sized bed, which barely fits Matt and me, and our bed now has a super-plush mattress topper, which is not good for a baby to sleep on (see, I do think about safety!).

2. Even though we will be co-sleeping initially, we still need the floor bed mattress because we will use it during the day for "tummy time" to build our baby's neck and core muscles and to give our baby mobile time (on his back) which is really good for meeting his developmental needs in the early days (Montessori prescribes a series of different types of mobiles that meet different needs as the baby grows). Also, at this point, I don't have interest in co-sleeping for years. I'm anticipating that Matt and I will need our separate time and space to keep our relationship strong, and to be the best parents that we can be for our baby. We'll have to play it by ear to see when the transition makes sense for our family. I definitely want our baby to feel secure and attached, but I simultaneously want him to develop independence when it's developmentally appropriate.

3. Baby's don't start rolling over for many months (although I've read that they can scoot earlier). They only start rolling over when they have developed strength and control in their bodies. When they do start rolling over, they could theoretically roll themselves into the side of the crib (with bumpers). The same thing happens with a Montessori bed. They can roll themselves into the wall on two sides (which can be cushioned with bumper-type things if you want), or they can roll off the bed. First, the mattress is not supposed to be very high off the ground. Secondly, you can cushion the floor right next to the baby's bed, so the baby rolls onto something soft.

4. Our mattress is wedged between the wall and a bookcase (I'll do a photo tour soon), so there's no chance that the baby can scoot the mattress and get wedged between it and the wall. Mattresses are about 25 pounds, so I'm not sure that's a huge risk.

5. Thank you so much for the Costco recommendations. I'm definitely going to look into it!

6. I'm going to do more official posts about the Montessori floor beds (and mobiles) at a later time, and I will definitely link to resources.

I am not an expert about this stuff at all. I'm just a parent who is learning as much as I can and then doing what makes sense to me. That's the best that any of us can do!

Blue said...

The crib-sized mattress could last you a while if you wanted or needed. I slept in one until I was 5 or 6. By the time I was 3 and a half I had two little brothers (and a sister soon to come) so they got the kids' bedroom. My 'new room' was a walk-in closet that was almost exactly the width of the long side of a crib mattress. My parents painted it lavender and built a bed suspended off the three walls with storage underneath. I still remember it so fondly. It was like my own little nest, made for me. I also slept in a drawer for the first week of my life - another fun story. :o)

Carrie said...

A couple of quick cautions: 1. Watch out for the 2.5 month old that can roll over--it happens (although you'll probably still be co-sleeping at that point, I guess) and 2. bumpers are not recommended for cribs, so I wouldn't think they'd be recommended for this floor arrangement either (SIDS, suffocation, a place to stand and launch onesself when one is old enough, etc.).

Sarah said...

I'd definitely love to hear more about the Montessori floor bed, including links to other resources. I'm thinking about doing that as well. I'm concerned about completely baby proofing the room and what types of "typical" furnishings (e.g., changing table, rocking chair) we might have to leave out of the room to keep it all as safe as a crib. Thanks!

Matt, Lindsey and 'the spud' said...

ooo... I love that you put your reasoning for the floor bed to follow up your post! I do love the floor bed idea and fostering independence, being a montessori teacher in my previous life...but I struggle with being at ease with it in reality. Society has told us to have cribs...regardless of the numerous infant deaths in them. So I can't wait to see pictures!! And to hear how it works in real life. I can't find too much out there on practicality of floor beds for babes. Great post topic!!

Festive Attire said...

Would love resources and to hear more about the mattress on the floor. We are also considering it but I can't figure out what to do about getting a good mattress either. I've heard you can get a really nice mattress cover that will offer some protection from the harsh chemicals. Is a twin mattress too big? We'll be co-sleeping as well for the first year or so. Which co-sleeper did you choose? There not not many brands other than Arm's Reach and they are made in China, generally not my top choice.

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ Festive Attire: After some more research, it looks like there are some quasi-eco-friendly crib mattresses that don't break the bank. There are some from L.A. Baby and Sealy, specifically.

A twin mattress is not too big at all. I would opt for a twin if we had more room.

It's been a nightmare trying to find something to attach to our bed for co-sleeping. I considered the pack-and-play with the bassinet option because it's so much cheaper than the arm's reach, but we have an IKEA bed that is very low to the ground. The universal arm's reach is the only thing I've been able to find that can be used with platform beds. I did find a DIY IKEA hack job, but I feel like I have too many other projects on my plate right now.

Hope that helps!

Festive Attire said...

Thanks! Some other mattresses I found that you might want to check out are: Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer and Colgate EcoClassica Crib Mattress. The 2nd one is pricier but the first one falls in the same range as LA Baby.

Elizabeth Cole Duffell said...

Hi, I'm having a baby in March and also planning a floor bed after co-sleeping a bit (there may be a moses basket in-between there somewhere). I have a tiny space so I'm looking for a mattress, or even a futon, that we could fold up during the day if needed...and it seems like the mattress shouldn't be too thick in any case so the baby doesn't have a big drop off if they roll. Have you found any great thin (like 2-4") crib mattresses or futons to use for a floor bed/play mat? We are also looking for eco-friendly (figure we can spend more on the mattress since we are saving on the crib). Thanks for this post!

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ Elizabeth: We bought an eco-friendly crib mattress but then returned it because 5" was too high off the ground. We decided to go with a foam mattress from IKEA (which was only about $60) because it's 3" off the ground. It's much better! Once we move and have more space, we hope to upgrade his bed to a twin or a full and will hopefully get a more eco-friendly version then.

Sara E. Cotner said...

@ Elizabeth: We bought an eco-friendly crib mattress but then returned it because 5" was too high off the ground. We decided to go with a foam mattress from IKEA (which was only about $60) because it's 3" off the ground. It's much better! Once we move and have more space, we hope to upgrade his bed to a twin or a full and will hopefully get a more eco-friendly version then.

The Education Of Ours said...

We have two of the foam beds from IKEA, they love them. Nice to be so free, right on the floor. Able to get to sister whenever they want to snuggle!

Another Montessori teacher here :)

Emily said...

I am a Primary Montessori Teacher and have a 10 week baby. Since we moved he has needed to be swaddled in order to sleep more than ten minutes. We have a 5 inch mattress. Since he has been swaddled, he moves around constantly during the night. We find him in the night face down on the floor rug. He wakes him self up a few times in the night because he falls out of bed. I tried building a ramp, but he still ends up face down. We are now really concerned about his safety-- finding him between the rug and mattress, we can barely hear his cry. I want to give him freedom of movement, but feel with his strong startle reflex, the floor bed isn't working. Any suggestions?

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