If you’ve been following me on social media, you know that I love floor beds. I talk about how much easier our life is since moving my son into his floor bed and I love to recommend it to bed sharing families.
Important disclaimer: I encourage you to do your own research to decide what is a safe option for your child. While I would personally choose a floor bed from birth that is NOT the right choice for all families and it depends on a variety of factors. Please note this blog is to share knowledge and does not substitute individual advice.
I thought I’d start with my top reasons to get your baby a floor bed.
Why I love a floor bed
Fosters Autonomy and Trust
I often get the question ‘Won’t they get up in the middle of the night?. They absolutely can. And you have to be okay with that. The freedom of movement that comes with a floor bed means your child might get out of bed at night and play (mine has yet to do that because contrary to popular belief, kids WANT to sleep at night).
On the flip side, you get a child who feels trusted and has autonomy. This is why floor beds are often recommended in Montessori circles, where allowing children autonomy of their own bodies is crucial.
Allows for safe bedsharing
The misconception is that a floor bed automatically means independent sleep. But this couldn’t be further from the truth! The awesome thing about setting your kid up with a floor bed (preferably a double or bigger) is that you get to sleep there! As long as you’re following the safe sleep 7 you are good to go. This can be a great option if, like me, you have a partner that isn’t totally comfortable with bedsharing.
For our family, this means our son can sleep independently for naps and the majority of the night but then I can bedshare with him when he needs a feed and stay until morning. Win win situation.
Easier to soothe to sleep
Even though my husband doesn’t bedshare with our son, he still loves how easy it is to soothe him to sleep with the floor bed. It used to be so difficult trying to soothe him over the crib bars or trying to transfer him from our arms to his crib. Now when dad goes in to support him back to sleep, all it takes is a cuddle and then he can sneak away.
This is one of the biggest reasons I recommend floor beds to families. Often families really struggle to transfer their little one to the crib once asleep. And most babies do not enjoy being put in the crib ‘drowsy but awake’ (more on that another day). So the floor bed is a great way to cuddle to sleep and still be able to sneak out for some adult time.
More sleep for the parents
Every morning my son wakes up, nurses, and then goes off to play while I sleep for a bit longer. He looks out the window at the cars or plays with his toys. I drift off to sleep (which is great because I am not a morning person) knowing that he is safe in his room and enjoying his toys. If he was in a crib I would have to get up to get him out.
Even the fact that we can lay with him to settle him to sleep means we aren’t sitting up trying to stay awake in the middle of the night. This is so helpful in us getting more rest overall.
Floor Bed Options to Consider
Will baby stay in your room?
A floor bed can be in your room. In fact, it can be the bed that you all sleep on. Or it can be a bed in your child’s own room. It’s important to note that it is recommended for little ones to sleep in your room until at least 6 months of age, ideally until 12 months.
Another thing to consider is siblings. If there are toddlers running around the house you might need to be more careful about where you set the bed.
Size of the mattress
This is largely going to depend on the space that you have. For us, we started with a double mattress on the floor. This was great because there was plenty of room for me to sleep with my son. It also meant less risk of him rolling off (even though it was super low to the ground)
Frame or no frame
Many families choose to simply place a mattress directly on the ground. This is what we started with too. It’s inexpensive and you don’t have to commit if you’re not sure the arrangement will work. The main concern is that mold can form under the mattress as there is no airflow. Check it regularly and prop up the mattress against a wall to air it out every so often
Rail or no rail
Some floor beds have a rail so that the child cannot roll off, but there’s always a way for them to climb out if they choose to. This is an option if you feel nervous about them falling off the bed.
Purchase or build
There are many options to purchase online but there are also guides to build your own. This can save you money but also create a bed that is customized to your needs.
I’ve created a Pinterest board with some great floor bed options to consider. Check it out here.
Floor Bed Safety
Regardless of the bed you choose, the most important thing is to make sure the room is baby-proofed. Yes your baby will be able to wander around the room if they choose to, that’s the point! So you want it to be as safe as possible.
Anchor heavy furniture to the wall. For older babies and toddlers you also want to assess the risk of climbing and falling off something. Put yourself in your baby’s shoes and see if there’s a way for them to get up onto a dresser by propping on something else. And don’t underestimate your baby’s capabilities!
Check for choking hazards. General rule of thumb is that if an item can fit in a shot glass, it’s too small! Make sure your child’s space is free of small pieces they can choke on. Check toys for removable pieces also.
Outlet covers are crucial. For outlets that are being used, either have them behind furniture or you can purchase an outlet box to prevent your child playing with the plug.
A fan to help circulate the air is a great way to help prevent SIDS. A smoke detector nearby or in the room is important too.
Check that there’s no way for your child to open the window. Seems obvious but toddlers are so much smarter than we give them credit for! Install a safety guard if necessary.
If the rest of your house is completely safety proofed you might not need a gate. If not, install a baby gate at your child’s door so you can still hear them but they can’t run out. Of course if they are in the same room as you you could just shut the door.
Keep pets away from your child while sleeping. Also, particularly for younger babies, be mindful of older siblings running around.
Remember to keep blankets and pillows away until 12 months and follow the safe sleep 7 if you’re going to bedshare.
I recommend having the doors open to be within earshot or using a reliable baby monitor.
I hope you found this helpful! Are you considering a floor bed yourself? Let me know in the comments! If you’re thinking about transitioning from full-time bed sharing to a floor bed for independent sleep, check out my Bedsharing to Independent Sleep webinar where I give you all the tips and tricks to transition your little one.