On Sunday morning, Tate woke up, crawled to his shelf, pulled up, and began rummaging through a little wooden box with toys in it. It gave me the idea that now might be a good time to give an update about the Montessori floor bed since we've used it through two infants and are still using it with our toddler (is three the official end of toddlerhood?).
Using a floor bed is similar to using a crib, except that the entire room becomes a crib. For both Henry and Tate, we used a crib mattress (a three-inch one from IKEA) and placed it in the middle of the floor on a soft rug for bedtime and naps. In Henry's first room, we moved it back to the corner every day; in Tate's room we simply leave it in the middle of the rug all the time.
The Montessori books recommend placing the floor mattress in the corner because infants like the feeling of being more closed in, but it's always felt safer to us to not have it against the wall.
The first reason I love the Montessori floor bed is the cost. It's much cheaper to buy a crib mattress than an entire crib. But more than the cost factor, I love what it communicates to even the youngest baby. It communicates that they have the freedom to explore their surroundings on their own terms. It also gives them an uninterrupted view of the room, as opposed to seeing it through slats.
I also love that we never had to go through any huge transition to a "big boy bed." We did upgrade to a regular twin-sized mattress, but we didn't have to put up any bars to prevent Henry from rolling off. And now when we sleep in hotels, he can easily sleep on regular-sized beds when he needs to.
I completely understand why people don't go this route (and I even know trained Montessorians who choose to go the crib route), but I just wanted to share my perspective about how well it's worked for both boys. It's definitely not a mainstream choice, but it has felt like the right one for our family.