Tuesday, July 30, 2013

An Infant Montessori Environment

When I was pregnant with Henry, I started getting his Montessori nursery ready several months in advance. This time around, we didn't create a nursery for Tate at all.
In this particular instance, it's not a case of busy-second-time-momness. Really, it was simply a function of the fact that we were scheduled to move into our new house two weeks after his birth.
And then the builders tacked on a few more weeks until our house was going to be finalized and two weeks at our rental house with baby Tate started to turn into a month or more. While he still didn't need a full-blown nursery for a single month (since he sleeps in our room), he definitely needed more space dedicated to his needs throughout the house.
So here's a quick tour of the ways in which we've made space for Baby Tate in our home:
In our office/guest room, I set up a large mirror against the wall and pushed a crib mattress against it. I screwed a hook into the ceiling, so that I could hang mobiles from it. This space is perfect for working on blog posts at the desk while Tate watches his mobiles. Right now, I have the Munari mobile set up in here, but when he tires of it, I can put up the whale mobile, the butterfly mobile, or an abstract mobile.

We have a portable set-up that can travel with us to any room, and we mainly use it in the family room. We have a mat for Tate to lie on or we simply use his topponcino. He can either lie on his back underneath this wooden arch (I made black and white cards for him to look at) or he can lie on his stomach and look at this black-and-white accordion book. I like that the mat and arch can be stowed in a closet when not in use. It helps keep the cluttered feeling at bay.
In our bedroom, we have a mobile hanging above our bed (that can be raised out of the way when not in use). We also have a Moses basket that we use for napping and nighttime sleeping.

Tate gets lots of cuddle time while breastfeeding and while being put to sleep in the Moby wrap (once he falls asleep, we transition him to his Moses basket). During his brief moments of awake time, we try to give him as much freedom of movement as possible. We try to keep him out of confining contraptions as much as possible (e.g., no swings, infant seats, etc.) and instead let him lie on his stomach or back on a flat surface to give him the greatest range of motion to move his arms, legs, and head.

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Shawn said...

Could you link to where you found the topponcino and the Moses basket? What have you found are the best sources for those items - I have a hard time when I look online. Thanks!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Shawn!

I got mine at Michael Olaf:


You can also get one on Etsy:


You also need two covers and some rubberized flannel to slide between the cover and the topponcino. My friend let us borrow her covers and her flannel; we just had to buy the topponcino.

We borrowed a Moses basket from our friend, but it's similar to this one:


The difference is that my friend (who is AMI-trained) made the mattress for it, which raises the baby much higher in the basket. I'm never afraid he's going to fall out, but I think the purpose is to give him a little more range of motion.

The classic Montessori bed is called a cestina and it's similar to a Moses basket except it's more circular and less ovular. Again, the purpose is to give the baby more room to scoot. I know AMI-trained folks who have made cestinas out of dog beds.

Let me know if you have more questions!

Or you can make one. My AMI-trained friend let me borrow her patten

Shawn said...

Thank you! I am always amazed by the wealth of information on this blog. Thanks for all that you share!

Sara E. Cotner said...

You're more than welcome, Shawn!

freespiritfarm said...

Sara, I absolutely love reading your blog, but I thought I'd share that I'm always left aching for more photos! One photo at the top of the post just isn't enough! lol! Have you ever thought of using more photos in the posts?


Sara E. Cotner said...

Hi, Allyson! I know, I know. The problem is it's already hard enough to muster the time it takes to consistently compose three posts week after week. Adding more photos takes a ton of time. I always intend to add more, but I typically settle for "this is good enough!" Sorry about that!

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