Tuesday, October 4th, 2005
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!
We took a queen mattress from our guest room â€“ 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 â€“ 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.