Cribless and Loving It

When Little Miss decided at 8 months of age that she had outgrown he crib, we had a quick decision to make. Do we buy a crib today or what? What, of course!

Little Miss sleeping on her stomachWe took a queen mattress from our guest room – just the mattress, not the box spring or frame — and placed it on the floor of the baby’s room. We shoved the mattress tight against a corner and put nothing on it except a fitted sheet. No top sheet, no blankets, no pillow. We cleared the room of everything except an unclimbable table that holds a lamp and baby monitor. Plugs were already in all electrical outlets and the doorknob is child-proofed. The room looks like a jail cell, sans toilet. Oh, except for the cool dingbats on the walls and Miss’ security blankets on the bed.

[Photo note: That's Little Miss on her mattress, though the photo is so overexposed she might as well be floating on a cloud. Those picnic table-esque shorts are extra large due to her pocket diaper.]

Our changing table, baby clothes and toys reside in an adjoining room. The baby’s sleep room is only that, a sleep room. I have no supporting research, but I believe this separation of purpose helps Miss calm down and fall asleep. If she isn’t truly tired, she immediately tells us (in a most honest kicking-and-screaming way) because she knows why she’s been brought to her bedroom.

There was a long transition period from hammock to mattress, perhaps two months. She went from confined back sleeping to her preferred stomach sleeping with limitless bed space. During the course of the night she would wake two or three times. Each time, we noticed that she had migrated up and to the left of her original position. One time she crawled off the edge of the mattress, but was unharmed (one mattress sitting directly on the floor presents a 10 to 12 inch drop, but she probably didn’t fall all at once).

During each waking period we moved her to the lower right corner of the mattress so that she wouldn’t migrate to the edge anymore. The waking periods eventually lessened – she’s down to an occasional once-a-night cry that is resolved within five minutes — and she doesn’t move around much at all.

Caution: do not try this at home. I am not suggesting your baby sleep
on an adult mattress. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission warns against placing babies in adult beds.

To be fair (to myself), much of what the CPSC warns about doesn’t apply to my situation. They talk a lot about four major “hazard patterns” that are: co-sleeping (parent and baby) in the same bed, entrapment between the mattress and other objects, suffocation while face down on a waterbed and strangulation on bed rails.

Meanwhile, some family members will be visiting in a couple weeks and I’m busy converting our new storage room back into a guest room, so Miss may lose her queen mattress. We’re considering buying a toddler bed, but I’ve been generally disappointed by the limited choices in the American market. Count on a future blog entry on that subject.


5 Responses to “Cribless and Loving It”

  1. Abbycat says:

    I like your approach. We’re still using a crib, but she ends up in our bed most nights anyway. I’ve often thought of putting a mattress on the floor for her. Hmmm..

    October 5th, 2005 at 8:27 am

  2. d says:

    I have been pondering a similar approach. Perhaps try a Japanese futon. An authentic one. They are called shikifuton. They are now available in the US.

    March 16th, 2007 at 10:46 am

  3. JC says:

    Hey. Why not try at home? you just sad it worked fine for you. I don’t like the idea of buying a crib, a toddler bed, and a twin bed all before the kid starts school…

    Anyway I’d been thinking of using a bassinet until they start sleeping through the night and then moving them unto twin mattresses (w/o covers ect) I came across your sight after google-ing weither there was any reason I couldn’t do this. – Cool sight by the way! About time a baby site is from the guys veiw!

    Anyway we plan on having twins and are thinking of converting the crib from when he was a baby to a co-sleeper thing and than putting them in twin beds (well just the mattresses on the floor first) Any thoughts?

    March 10th, 2008 at 12:45 pm

  4. SF says:


    I’m planning on doing floor mattress for the baby. I find the cots too restricted. My only concern is that the mattress is about 5 inches off the floor. Since she’s only 5.5 months old her rolling off the mattress at night is my only concerm. Is there anything I can put one one side of the mattress to prevent her from falling? three out of the four sides of the mattress are against the bedroom wall, one side of teh mattress is cauing me concern. Are their mattress rails available without the need for a bed frame?

    April 25th, 2008 at 10:22 am

  5. lms says:

    for the edge of the bed that would be without a wall to block potential falls/rolling off, you might look into a Tres Tria pillow or a Pregnancy Body Pillow and Family Bed from Humanity Organics. they look a little expensive, but far less than an average baby crib mattress. we haven’t tried them yet but are considering this option when our baby will transition out of our bed.

    May 13th, 2008 at 4:15 pm