Looking for a modern bassinet or co-sleeper and only finding icky, frilly wedding cakes on stilts? Yeah, I hate most of what I saw out there in the marketplace, too. I thought I’d round up the best of the modern bassinets and co-sleepers I found.
But first, a little bit about co-sleeping. While doing my research I found so many articles for and against co-sleeping that I nearly gave up on the idea of making a decision, but then realized that no decision was in fact a decision so I trudged on.
The argument that stood out for me in favor co-sleeping was that, by sleeping with your infant you are teaching them how to sleep. Until they arrive, your body is their body; so connected are mother and baby. When they come out, you realize they are not still a part of your body (believe me, you realize this) but they don’t. It takes them a long while to understand that separation…(see separation anxiety). In keeping with this line of thought, then, by modeling sleep behavior you in essence are teaching your baby how to sleep. Generations of parents across cultures have done so. Not until recently (relatively speaking, say within the last 200 years) have parents removed the infant from their own bed and put them into a separate room. Now, I could go on about the pros of co-sleeping, but this is the one that really felt right to me. This and the fact that, once my baby joined us, I was so intent on watching her every breath (to make sure she was still taking them) that I felt better with her next to me.
But, to be fair, the argument that putting a baby in his or her own room fosters independence also resonated with me. I mean, afterall, we are raising little adults and I’d like to think that my child will be independent when she grows – not an emotionally stilted dependent being. Plus, independence is integral to the Montessori method that we choose to raise our daughter by, so I felt conflicted about the decision.
However, the essence of Montessori, to me, is to teach your child when the child is ready to learn that lesson. Since an infant is still mentally attached to the mother, I figure that co-sleeping is the appropriate lesson for that age and teaching my child how to sleep by essentially modeling the behavior seemed like the thing to do. I could be rationalizing here, but it felt right.
Which leads me back to finding a good co-sleeper. Since we have a queen size bed, the one that fits in-between the parents was out – simply not enough room. Of course, there is always the time honored practice of laying the baby down on the bed, but I was afraid of smothering and excessive rolling over that that was out as well.
What I found fits into to two categories: the co-sleeper and the bassinet. One actually attaches to the bed, making a tiny bed for the baby but still next to the mom (or dad). The other can be placed anywhere, either next to the bed or simply in the room. I loved the Nest-Bassinet: simple, elegant. And, expensive!
Not bad, but I was leaning more toward having my baby sleep next to me so that I wouldn’t have to be continually getting out of bed to check on her. Here are the co-sleepers I liked the best.
My favorite by a mile: Cully Bella co-sleeper from Italy. Unfortunately, it’s not in production. But just look at it!
Finally, hiding in the depths of the internet I found the Baby Bunk. Not too expensive, simple, and elegant. The perfect combo for me. Here is my bed with the bunk we bought and one with my baby in it…
All three of us loved it. We each had our own space to sleep but we were all cozy next to each other. I didn’t have to get out of bed in the night to check on my baby and we all slept as good as can be expected those first three months. Really, with just a few hiccups, we slept pretty much right on her feeding schedule: at first every three hours we woke, then every four, then we made it to six (what a night!) and then we were getting through from about 11 pm to 7 am. We used the bunk for roughly 4 months, until our little climber started to sit up and try to pull on the edges to investigate the other side…then, she went straight to the floor bed (see post).
Co-sleeping was the exact right decision for our family and using the baby bunk was perfect. Hope you find what you’re looking for, too.
I’m no expert in Montessori but I’m extremely interested and have been trying to put fold some principles in to the way we are raising our daughter. I know, I know, you probably can’t cherry pick these things but for what it’s worth, I am and it seems to be working OK for us. So, here’s our experience with the Montessori floor bed and how we incorporated the idea into a room that is actually quite cute.
Why a floor bed? As my cousin (the real expert and the one I look to for advice – her blog is www.mommybahn.blogspot.com) says “a montessori infant should be able to get in and out of bed on her own power.” A crib hampers a child from making their own decisions. Essentially, you’ve made all the decisions for them – you put them in the crib and you take them out. With a floor bed, they are empowered. A double edge sword, you might say. Nonetheless, a floor bed allows your child to begin to understand their power.
We put a single futon on the floor and placed it in the corner of the room, up against 2 walls. I contemplated getting a floor bed frame but decided a futon on the floor would suffice. Yes, it’s a little college for an infant. But, for us, the frame wasn’t necessary to the principle or the design. I must say it has far exceeded my expectations and my daughter loves loves loves it! She sleeps soundly, hasn’t rolled off on to the floor yet (except when she intends to) and can entertain herself in the mornings quite well. I should mention here that we close her bedroom door because her room is on the 2nd floor and ours in on the first so I can’t have her roaming about the house on her own…one reason why I cherry pick what principles we follow and what we don’t. That said, the entire room is baby proofed. You could, I guess, call the whole room her crib but that is getting way too technical for this mom and there are way more qualified Montessori gurus out there. I offer this just as a real world implementation of the Montessori floor bed. Our family couldn’t be happier with this sleep solution.
UPDATE: Just to bend your ear about safe sleep, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association has a great resource on crib (and other sleep solutions) safety.