Now, I have never actually used a floor bed with my own children, so I can’t blog on this from personal experience. However, I have successfully implemented them with clients as part of gentle sleep support and they can be absolutely fab for lots of families. So, if you’ve heard about floorbeds, but not quite sure what it involves, have a read for some more info…
What is a floor bed?
You might have heard of it referred to as a Montessori floor bed, but in its simplest form (and I like to keep things simple here!), it's quite literally a bed on the floor for your baby or toddler with no legs.
Some people choose to take the mattress out of the existing cot they have already bought and use that, others use a single mattress, or if they have space, a double mattress so that any hugging and rolling going on is more easily achieved. But you could also have two single mattresses pushed together, or a single mattress for you next to the cot mattress. The best setup will really be a combination and space and what works best for your family, but there are definitely options.
Where do I put a floor bed?
Well that’s up to you. Often the aim is to get the little one into their own sleep space, so the floor bed is set up in their room in lieu of a cot. But some parents choose to have a big floor bed arrangement in their own room with perhaps a double mattress they sleep in and the cot mattress pushed up next to it.
Why should I use a floorbed?
If you’ve been co-sleeping they can be a great way to transition your little one out of your bed. Going from co-sleeping to independent sleep in a cot can seem like a big step, the transition to a floor bed seems like a bit more of a natural transition for many parents.
It offers a lot of flexibility. Having to lean in the cot and pick your little one up to settle them every time they wake, only to then have them wake as soon as you try and place them back down again can be a serious headache. The floor bed allows you to get to your little one easily and even settle them before they get in too much of a pickle.
If you’re still night feeding, this clearly makes your life a lot easier as well than having to heave ho your little one in and out of the cot. If you’ve got any back problems this is especially a bit of a win for you, as some little ones can be very heavy to lift from quite a young age.
If your little one is frantically trying to climb out of their cot, but they’re not ready for a big bed, then this could be a good option for you too.
How do I introduce a floorbed?
Possibly one of the most important points is the how, especially how you can achieve this setup safely.
You need to make sure there are no gaps between the floor bed you’ve chosen and the wall or any furniture your little one could potentially get stuck in. Make sure you’re a good distance from the wall if room permits, or you’ll need to fill in any gaps.
If you’ve chosen to push two mattresses together in any way, they need to be tightly connected with a sheet so there’s no chance of your little one getting lost in the dip between the two.
Next you need to baby proof the living daylights out of the room, all furniture needs to be securely attached to the walls if it isn't already, no wires, cords etc can be dangling anywhere.
Then you need to make sure you’re following the same safe sleep guidelines you would be if you were using a cot. So a nice clear sleep space and firm mattress and placed to sleep on their back (if this still applies). If you're unsure of the safe sleep guidelines the Lullaby Trust is always a good website to visit.
If you don’t have one already, it's probably a good idea to install a baby monitor to keep an ear out for any movement and have a stairgate on any stairs they could easily get to just in case. A video monitor is great for this too, but an extra expense if you don’t already have one.
Ok I think I get it, sounds good, but what are the potential negatives or drawbacks of a floor bed?
Well the fact of the matter is, if you can’t tick all the boxes of how to achieve the floor bed safely, then unfortunately it’s not going to be an option for your family.
Other than that, I guess the biggest negative for some families is the whole reason a lot of parents choose to go for this method and embrace the Montessori style of this sleeping situation - and that’s the freedom it gives the child. But if this level of freedom and being able to get out of their sleep space is potentially going to cause you more problems than you think it solves, then it probably isn’t for your family.