We Never Used a Crib: What is a Floor Bed?

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I used to think that when I had a baby, s/he would sleep in a crib, just like every other baby. But when I began working at a Montessori school, I learned about floor beds and never looked back. I have found so many benefits and it has been so easy to use, that I just had to talk about what a floor bed is.

So, here is a quick progression on how we got Mac into her floor bed. When Mac was a baby, she slept in a bedside bassinet. Once she was a bit older, she moved into a floor bed in our room. Eventually Mac and her floor bed moved into her own room. Now we bed share part time with her as a toddler.

What is a floor bed? In our Montessori household, my toddler sleeps in a floor bed. But many people think it is strange. Read on for the pros and cons and what exactly a floor bed is.

What is a Floor Bed?

So what makes a floor bed? Pretty simple; it is just a mattress or other padding on the floor. In many parts of the world, people of all ages sleep on floor beds. They are easily managed in small spaces and can be cheaper than other alternatives. Instead of needing separate rooms that are used simply for sleeping, beds can be pulled out at night in the common areas.

We lucked out and were given an organic crib mattress by someone with children who had outgrown their crib. After Mac started to roll over frequently at night, we transferred her from the bassinet to a floor bed. We set up a corner of our room to be her area and put her mattress in there. She started sleeping in there when she was around 6 months old, but I have heard of other children starting on a floor bed when they were even younger. As she got older, we transitioned her to a floor bed in her own room, but instead of a crib mattress, she now sleeps on a full mattress.

What exactly is a Montessori floor bed? This post gives the basics on what a floor bed is and the benefits I have found having my daughter in one. quirkyandthenerd.com

So What Are the Benefits?

The biggest benefit of a floor bed is that it helps the child be more independent. This is the reason why Montessori encourages a floor bed. If Mac wakes up early from her nap, she can crawl around and play quietly until I come up to get her. I encourage Mac’s independence because I feel that it is important for her to be able to make her own choices, within reason. I have heard of people going to great lengths to try to contain their child to a crib, even putting tents over them. Why not remove the barriers and simply give them a larger space?

couch climbing baby

Floor beds can be safer than cribs. Mac is a little climber. I have no doubt that she would have learned to crawl out of a crib at an extremely young age. In fact, the picture of her just above was taken when she was 6 1/2 months old. And yes, she crawled up there completely on her own. With a floor bed, there is no chance of injury from falls or getting stuck in the slats of a crib. After child-proofing her area, she was free to roam safely.

I love the fact that I can go in and lay comfortably with her when she needs me. Sometimes, I even fall asleep with her for a while. I’ve heard of parents crawling into their baby’s crib or contorting themselves to comfort baby through the crib slats. I think our way is a lot easier!

Are There Any Negatives?

I honestly can’t think of any major negatives. Any problems people thought we might have never really materialized or were quickly solved. I’ve been asked if she gets cold on the floor. In our house, the bedrooms are on the third floor. Even if it is very cold outside, she wears a Halo Sleep Sack which keeps her warm. Sleep sacks are a safe way to keep baby warm because blankets should not be used until they are older.

I will say that I’m not sure what is normal when it comes to kids sleeping because Mac is not a sleeper. But one negative (with a silver lining) is that a floor bed teaches children to listen to their body when it comes to natural cues about feeling tired. So the idea is that you would put the child in their room and they would play until they were ready to sleep. Now, I am hoping to work more on this during the summer when I am not working and can adjust my sleep schedule. But for now, I haven’t seen this with Mac. Most nights are a struggle because she honestly doesn’t require as much sleep as other children her age. But I don’t think this is a problem with floor beds, just with Mac’s natural ability to run on hardly any sleep. Every day.

People are worried about Mac falling out of bed. And guess what? She does, but only occasionally. It doesn’t really bother her at all. She wakes up enough to cry once or twice and falls back to sleep. But sleeping in a floor bed helps with her sense of edges, meaning that Mac has learned about how to safely dismount a ledge and how to keep herself from falling off an edge, even when she is sleeping. Of course, this isn’t a foolproof method, but I do feel it has enabled Mac to be the fearless, but successful climber that she is.

floor bed share room fall off

So what are your thoughts on a floor bed? Do you know anyone who uses one?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you buy through my link, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. For more information, see my disclosure page here.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Sharing a Room with a Montessori Floor Bed - Quirky and the Nerd | 20th Apr 16

    […] Montessori floor bed. I already explained what a floor bed is and why we chose it (read about that here), but today I wanted to talk about where we set up the floor bed to start […]

  2. We Never Used a Crib: Using a Co-Sleeper Bassinet with Baby - Quirky and the Nerd | 8th Jun 16

    […] to read about our decision to have Mac sleep in a floor bed. She has been sleeping in a floor bed from the time she was about 5 months old. We even shared a […]

  3. Alison Howell | 22nd Aug 16

    I had never heard of this until I came across your blog, but it sounds like a wonderful idea. Our almost 2 year old would definitely benefit from this as he is getting ready to transition to a twin bed anyway and he is such a mover when he’s asleep. Thank you for the outline of pros and cons, I think we will be trying this with our toddler and eventually with our new baby on the way 🙂

  4. Alma Carandang | 10th Oct 16

    Hello! I am Alma, mother of two boys. My first one Cyrus has been in floor bed from when he is 3 months old. I agree with you, the best benefit is that it is safe when they start to roll over and crawl. Now with my second one Zeus, he is sharing bed with me, dad and Cyrus in another bed. We just moved to the US last year and now live in a one bedroom apartment. The 2 beds are beside each other. It is our goal to floor bed this little one with all of us, hopefully we can arrange things before he start to crawl.

  5. Montessori Toddler Floor Bed Room - Quirky and the Nerd | 5th Jan 17

    […] I’ll post them here. First, I talked about how we never used a crib. Then I talked about what a floor bed is. Then I posted about how we shared our bedroom with a floor bed. Make sure you scroll all the way […]

  6. Erin | 9th Mar 17

    Hello! I know this post is a bit old, but I’m considering doing a floor bed for my 7 month old and I have a question – we use sleep sacks for warmth as well, but what happens when he’s older and wants to crawl / walk out of the bed and explore the surroundings on his own? Won’t he fall over in the sleep sack?

    • Mikki | 9th Mar 17

      He might, but I will tell you that the sleep sack never stopped my daughter from exploring. It might slow him down, but if he is determined enough, he will find a way. I stopped using sleep sacks around the age of one. By then I was okay with a combination of warm pajamas and one blanket.

  7. Jessica | 10th Jun 17

    I wanted to reply to Erin about the sleep sack concern. You can get sleep sacks with foot holes, I think they are sometimes called early walkers. My son still loves to wear them and he’s almost 3.

  8. Amanda | 18th Jun 17

    I just wanted to say -my mother did this for me when I was a baby 30 years ago! People were concerned of course but she saw nothing wrong with it and the point was so that I would sleep better and she could lay down with me. I turned out an amazing sleeper 🙂

  9. Lizzie | 19th Jul 17

    I have a question…what about bugs or keeping it clean? Although not often but when it rains every now an then a roach may comeout or silver fish? What do you do to help avoid bugs?

    • Mikki | 19th Jul 17

      When she was on a smaller mattress, I made sure to prop it up off of the floor frequently when it wasn’t in use. On the larger mattress, I used an IKEA mattress and the bed came with wooden slats that I still put on the floor under the mattress to promote good airflow. I never had to deal with bugs, so I’m not sure. But I would say just making sure to have the mattress just slightly raised or standing it up frequently to check underneath.

  10. Freedom of Movement: Learning to Trust a Toddler's Abilities - Quirky and the Nerd | 4th Aug 17

    […] point. (And for more on the living room, click here. For more on her floor bed situation, click here and […]

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