Montessori Infant Series: The Wonders of a Floor Bed
Updated: Oct 2, 2020
The infant sleep world is one that is pretty divided, with pretty strong feelings from all sides. The AAP recommends the SIDS Prevention Recommendations, and recent research has come out that showed evidence of safety in bedsharing when using the guidelines listed in their research with a breastfeeding/chestfeeding parent (sourced here, and here). La Leche League also lists the Safe Sleep 7.
There's a lot of information out there on infant sleep, and it can be hard to tell what is actually the safest option for your baby. I'm in favor of whatever choices families make, but I recommend setting up your bed with the Safe Sleep 7 even if you are not planning on bed sharing, just in case you and baby fall alseep in bed without intending to.
All of the research and guidelines I've listed here recommend sleeping in the same room as your baby through the first year of their life, and at the minimum, until they are at least 5 months old. This is called co-sleeping. Bedsharing is when your baby is sleeping in the same room with you and the same bed. So co-sleeping=same room, bedsharing=same bed.
When your baby is still co-sleeping in your bedroom you can still utilize the Montessori Floor Bed by starting off with having it in your bedroom, and then moving the floor bed to your baby's nursery when they are ready to move to their own room.
This video does a great job of showing how to successfully use a Montessori Floor Bed in your newborn's nursery.
The set up for a Floor Bed is a lot easier than setting up a crib, because a Montessori nursery is meant to be very minimalistic. You use a firm mattress (it could be a crib or twin mattress) you keep on the floor, free from pillows and blankets.
I think of the Montessori Floor Bed as the best of both worlds when it comes to infant sleep.
Why it's great?
You can still nurse your baby while laying next to them and resting your body.
Once your baby is alseep while nursing, you don't have to move them to another surface. They can continue to sleep where they are, which means you don't have to soothe a baby that has been woken up by their startle reflex.
Your baby's bed will be firm and carefully prepared without hazards like fluffy duvets and pillows.
When you start your baby on a floor bed, they will have independence from the start. You will not have to transition them out of any other sleep arrangements (From a bassinet to a crib to a toddler bed to a big kid bed. Those are a lot of sleep transitions). A floor bed provides the same sleep setting for a newborn as for a toddler or a preschooler (although you can introduce pillows and blankets after your child turns a year old).
Similarly to a crib, you will want to place your baby's floor bed away from other furniture, windows, and other potential hazards. Often times, I see floor beds placed near mirrors, which is actually going to be stimulating for a child, and not optimal for their sleep. So ideally, your child's sleep space should be as uninteresting as possible so they are more likely to fall alseep without distractions.
To find out more about Montessori Floor Beds, check out this article from MariaMontessori.com.