Of all the parenting problems I am asked for help with, the following is the most common: Babies HATE cots and cribs. Babies even tend to hate cosleeper cribs yes, I did say that and no, I have never and would never buy one myself. Most parents I speak with who have a cosleeper crib say something like the following: Why do babies hate cots and cribs? Because they are just not normal for our species.
Think about it, cots and cribs really are a very bizarre concept.
We are the ONLY mammal in this world who invents an artificial containment device in which to place our offspring away from us to sleep. All other species sleep like this: The very act of putting a baby down, into the cot or crib, causes their falling reflex to trigger, startling them awake because of the presence of imminent danger falling.
If you do want to place a baby in a crib or a cot without waking them you need to start from a position that is level with the mattress so that no downward motion is necessary. This is presuming that you have a baby that is OK with point number 1 however. Because they have no control about when they get in, or out of, the crib or cot. In many ways a cot or crib is like a prison to a baby, if they want to get out of it they are at the mercy of somebody else.
If they are tired and want to go in they have to be put in there by somebody else. If you want to create really good sleeping patterns in your children allowing them control over their own tiredness cues is the way to go. How can you do this? You give them a sleeping surface that they can choose to go to whenever they want to sleep, or rest and one they can leave at their choosing. Check out this great video which shows the concept being used by a nursery: Meet the floor bed.
Floor beds coincidentally also address points 1 and 2 as well. If your baby is like any other mammalian baby on the planet floor beds allow them to fall asleep snuggled next to you. If you wish you can choose to leave them when they are asleep. They also avoid the need to put the baby down and thus bypass the falling reflex issue.
Most importantly of all though they allow the baby some really important autonomy. How do you make a floor bed? It really is very simple. Ditch your crib or cot apart from the mattress, put the mattress on the floor et voila — a floor bed.
Some people opt for single mattresses, some prefer padded mats, some prefer kingsize mattresses so the whole family can share a floor bed, like this: The jury is out on this one. Does the mattress need some airflow underneath it? Some people use a couple of bed slats underneath the mattress to give it a little bit of airflow, some lift the mattress and stand it against a wall for a couple of hours a day, some just turn it regularly.
What if the baby rolls off? This is the beauty of a floor bed. Some people choose to surround the floor bed with a cushioned mat, but often you will find the baby sleeping peacefully on the floor next to the bed if they have rolled off. How long can you use them for? Many people sleep on floor beds forever. Just ask many Japanese families.
It is quite possible that in time, think a few months, that your baby may be happy to nap in their cot or crib again. Lots of people decide to stick with the floor bed idea though as they see it working so well.
For the purpose of this article however I have concentrated on floor beds.
All it does is reveal something about the baby's susceptibility to such a fatal event. It always happens unexpectedly and almost always during sleep. While some parents choose a smaller bed for their baby to start out in, others put their little ones into a cot from day one — it's all a matter of personal preference, as long as the bed you choose meets the safety recommendations and conforms to British safety standards BSEN
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