Why We're Skipping The Crib

We've got an adorable house. I've put a lot of effort into making this place a home, because it was the first place that really WAS like home since getting married. I loved all of our last homes, don't get me wrong, but when you're a student with a 10 hr schedule and a 3 hr commute, home is the place where you sleep, eat, and play Age of Empires on the weekends. It was important that our house be clean so that when people came over, they'd want to stay a while, and so that when I'd instagram pics of our cute Christmas tree, people weren't like "Woah, decorate much?" but that was about it. I didn't have a huge investment in the look of our home because I personally wasn't there much.

When we moved, I had the summer off, I was pregnant, and I wasn't going to be returning to work for the next year. It was important to me that our home look nice. So I got to work. Epic Thrift was my best friend, I'd spend a few hours googling things like "How to pick the best coffee table" and the like.... because I was there quite often. It was my home. I wanted it nice for me, I wanted it nice for Joe, I wanted it nice for guests to come visit, and with baby on the way, I wanted it nice for him too.

So the nursery was a big ol thing to me. It had to be perfect. I'm realizing now that I'm a little obsessive about the way things are organized, presented, and cleaned. And the nursery was the challenge to end them all, because I've never done anything like that before. I began looking on all the big websites for the main focal point of the room: The crib.

And I'm so sorry, Joseph, but your wife has expensive taste. She was raised by a woman who taught her how to see and feel the difference between $5/yd fabric and $20/yd fabric, and when you've touched the expensive stuff, you KNOW, and you won't go back. And the thing with the crib, it was more than a crib. It was a throne that would carry our son through his princehood, because of course it would be able to convert into a bed, and I was picky about how his future bed would look too.

It was just a lot of stress, guys. It was a lot of stress to be, myself, sleeping in a gorgeous antique sleigh bed that was inherrited and thus free... and then to be looking at spending at very minimum $300 on a crib, with $400 being what I was more comfortable with, but closer to $1000 if I wanted something non-toxic. *Cringe* (Because guys, I was that baby that chewed on stuff. I remember what my childhood crib tasted like, even.)

I was on a forum one day where someone said "Setting up my Montessori nursery!" and someone replied "OMG I have the biggest Motessori pinterest board." Pinterest lit up in big, beautiful sparkly letters and I can't turn down a pinterest search, so that's what I did.

And what I learned was that Montessori rooms don't have cribs.


No, in these bedrooms, the mattress is either flat on the floor, or elevated just an inch or two off the floor on a platform bed frame.

And I looked more and more and more and the idea got more and more ridiculous to me, but I couldn't deny that the bedrooms were crazy darling. I mean...

To see the rest of my inspiration, click here!

So I sat and thought about it, and I wondered if I knew any kids that slept on the floor, and it occured to me that I had spent 2 years of my life putting kids to sleep on the floor in preschool. And that's when things started making sense. I began researching more, and came to the conclusion that we would not be buying a crib, we would build a baby/toddler sized floor bed, and our baby would sleep on the floor.

I've brought this idea up to a few people, and I've gotten a lot of different reactions. Some "Awesome!", some "You're a terrible mother!" but for the most part, it's been "Weird!" and I will admit, it is weird. But everyone has questions when faced with something they don't know, so let's go answer your questions.

Question: "OMG Lara! Your baby could fall off the bed!"
Answer: You're right. He'll probably drop about 3 inches down, and keep on sleeping! THE HORROR. But if this ever becomes a huge problem, a simple fix is to put a pool noodle under the mattress sheet, and whenever he tries to roll off, he'll roll into the noodle. No harm done. And in any case I'd rather him fall 4 inches than for him to climb up the bars and fall from 4 feet.

Question: "Are you just too poor for a crib?"
Answer: Not at all, actually. While my taste is leaning towards the $400+ cribs, I recognize that there are cribs in the $100-$200 area. While saving money on a crib was attractive to me, in the end it wasn't what sealed the deal for me. This just means there is more money for me to spend in all the other areas! Clothes, bags, decorations, clothes.... oh and little socks.

Question: "Aren't you worried about bugs and mold?"
Answer: No, are you? I don't know about you, but I regularly clean my home. We don't have mold. And we don't have bugs. If bugs and mold are going to find their way onto my baby's bed, they're going to do it whether it's a few inches up or a few feet up.

Question: "But like POISONOUS BUGS?!"
Answer: Again with the bugs. Where do you live?

Question: "Ok, all I know is that when I transitioned my 2yo from a crib to a bed, they were getting up all the time to come bother me, or to play with their toys. The crib keeps the baby in place!"
Answer: That is a very good point (albeit, not a question), and one I've thought about and researched a lot. Think about it, if you were asked, as a 20 something year old, to stop sleeping on your bed, and start sleeping some other way (standing, hanging upside down...) you'd probably struggle with it too, because that's not how you learned to sleep. Our son will sleep in a bassinet near our bed for the first few months, and then he will sleep on his floor bed. This will likely happen before he learns to crawl. He's going to be learning from the get-go that the bed in his room is where he sleeps. I anticipate that when he starts crawling, he may get out of bed occasionally, but I'm not too concerned about that. His room will be baby proofed to the max. There will be no choking hazards, nothing he can pull down on top of him that will harm him.... it will be a safe place for him to explore. And when he's ready to go to sleep, he'll crawl back into his bed. But the expectation will be, from day one, that he sleeps in his bed. That when it's bed time, it is sleep time. Not because he's stuck behind bars, but because that's what he's learned from before he was mobile.

Answer: Actually, I'm gonna keep going with this because there's one more thing. When I wake up in the middle of the night and I need something that is on the other side of the room, for whatever reason, I get up and I go get it. I don't lay there and scream until someone gets it for me. So if our baby wakes up in the middle of the night and say oh.... he wants his binky over on his shelf, he'll see it, and he'll move himself to get it. That's developmentally what happens at a pretty young age. If he were in a crib, however, he'd have to scream until I got it for him. That's not my cup of tea at 3am. I'm ok if he screams because he's hungry but so help me, if my 18mo is screaming because his blanket fell off his bed....

Question: "Don't you just worry that your child is going to have weird sleep patterns?"
Answer: Actually, I'm going to let you research this one on your own. But the biggest motivator for me in choosing this method was that children usually have better sleep patterns and sleep habits when sleeping on a floor bed. Go figure!

Question: "I think it's really gross that you're going to let your child sleep on the floor like an animal."
Answer: I actually haven't gotten this one a lot, but I've seen other people get it, and it is pretty hilarious. Because... you realize that the mainstream nursery puts children into cages. Just sayin. Ok actually, I will say that calling a crib a cage is extreme. But saying that letting your child sleep on the floor is animalistic is also extreme. So let's all just drink some cucumber water and chill.

Question: (This one is for the grandmas!) "But what about when you come to visit?"
Answer: Well, when we're in our house, we play by our rules. When we're in your house, we'll play by your rules. If baby boy has to sleep in a crib for a week while we're absorbing what "cold" feels like, then so be it! There's a lot of things different about grandparents' houses, and he'll learn what that's like.

Question: "But when you have other kids, the babies will get stepped on!"
Answer: If our kids are sharing rooms, that may be a real concern. Thankfully, for now, we're having one baby at a time, and we intend to keep doing that if possible. So when B├ęcar number 4 enters the game, we'll figure out what to do.

Question: "But really, do you even have any experience with raising kids? How can you even think this is a good idea?"
Answer: Funny you should mention that. I got a degree in essentially child raising.... I spent several SEVERAL years of my life learning how to care for children through research and lessons. And I also spent 2 years of my life essentially raising young children for 8-10 hours of the day while their parents were at work. So I do have some experience, thanks. I'm not the typical first time mom whose only experience with children may be the baby isle of Target. This is in no way to say that I am going to be a better mother, because heaven knows that raising your own children is totally different than raising others. But, to an extent, I do know what I'm talking about.

Question: "So you must be one of those feel good hippies who is gonna home school their kids all Montessori style too?"
Answer: Hippy, me? No. I love mascara and my straightener and In-N-Out way too much to be about "granola" or whatever. And I don't intend to homeschool my kids, as I think that public school has some really important features. But we'll see how my kids do when the time comes. As for now, I'm just a pregnant lady who is gonna let her infant sleep on a short bed, and we're gonna see how that will go. And I'll play it by ear from there on out.

So now you know a little bit more about montessori beds. We'll be building the bed very soon, and I'm REALLY EXCITED about that. I'll post pictures and who knows, maybe even a tutorial, when the time comes! Ooooh all bloggy and stuff!

And I just want to clarify, that I am in no way trying to tear down the crib industry for the world. There are some families who really need cribs. There are some mothers who may not be up to taking on the weird challenge of a crib free home, and that's totally fine, because there are plenty of other challenges mothers tackle daily. But for us, this was the option that made the most sense and felt the most right. If you ever have any questions about it, please just ask. I'm just a person, like the rest of you, and I'm happy to answer any of them!



Karli West Denton said...

So I didn't even know this was a thing. Pretty cool though, and I definitely would have looked into it more had I known about it earlier. For now, we'll stick with our crib, but down the line, who knows? Can"t wait to see pictures!

Anonymous said...

My niece, who is like my youngest child, posted this.She is expecting her first also. I think this is amazing, and a wonderful idea. My children are grown now, having grandkids for me, and they could tell you about the "tiny" bunk beds their dad built for them when they were 3 1/2, 2 and 6 mos old. Yes - three of them and close together, then my niece, who is also 18 mos younger, and spent a lot of nights. We had a very small 2 bedroom house and had to get creative! Folks who saw our two mini bunk beds LOVED them.... and couldn't believe how the children fought to sleep on the top (which was a whopping 3 feet off the ground). But they loved their beds. I love that you are an idea mom... you will be amazing as a parent. Best wishes and congrats!

Aleigh Joy Moore said...

So this is a really cool idea! I wish I would've heard about it before buying our crib! Thanks for posting this, I'll look into it more with baby #2!