Dressing Your Baby For Sleep

Dressing your baby for sleep is one of those things that seems pretty straight forward- that is until you have a baby. Suddenly you realize there’s so many options and things to consider. Do I get the snaps or the zipper? Do I need organic fabrics? Are they too cold? Grandma says they need a hat, doctor says they don’t… What to do?!!

In this blog, I’m breaking down some of the science to help you figure out options around sleep.

Sleepwear and Safety

Whenever we’re talking about our babies and sleep, safety should be the first consideration. There’s a few things I want to discuss in this area.


Studies have shown that overheating can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. We don’t know the exact ideal temperature and amount of clothing that is right. Really, it would be impossible for people all over the planet to control their infant’s temperature exactly. But we do know that overheating can cause babies to sleep too deeply and possibly not wake.

On that note, the AAP recommends NOT using a hat on your baby indoors. This is a common thing parents do first thing because their baby’s head seems so fragile- but please know it could contribute to overheating.

When it comes to checking a baby’s temperature, feeling the back of their neck is one of the best ways to gauge how they are feeling. Parents often believe their infants are cold because their hands and feet feel cold. But remember that infants do not have great circulation yet so it’s normal for their extremities to be cold. Although grandma might recommend mittens, it isn’t always necessary. In fact, babies learn a lot through feeling with their hands and many studies have found it beneficial for babies to have access to their hands.

Later in this blog we will talk more about choosing clothes for the temperature. For now, just remember that cold isn’t ideal but overheating is most dangerous.

Small baby sleeping cozily in a short sleeved onesie.


Swaddling is a hot topic and one that requires its own post. For now, I just want you to be aware that if you choose to swaddle, there are safety considerations to keep in mind:

  • There should never be extra fabric around baby’s head or neck
  • Hips and legs should have space to move to prevent hip dysplasia
  • An infant should never be swaddled when bedsharing
  • As soon as you see signs of rolling or ideally by 8 weeks of age, it’s time to transition out of the swaddle

A sleep sack where the arms are free is fine and great to use well into toddlerhood. We just want to make sure a baby has access to their arms and hands to prevent them getting stuck in a compromised position.

It’s also important to note that babies use their hands to help them with breastfeeding. They might push on the breast, for example, to help the flow of milk. Ideally babies should be unswaddled when breastfeeding- please discuss further with your lactation consultant.

Weighted Sleep Sacks

Weighted sleep sacks have become really popular in sleep training circles. Brands like the ‘Magic Merlin’ promise to help your baby sleep better when transitioning from swaddling. And some even have chest pads that add extra weight. The AAP, however, cautions against these as they could increase the risk of entrapment and overheating.

Now, here’s the thing: weighted sleep sacks CAN be helpful for sleep just as weighted blankets are for adults. That’s because it can be a helpful tool for those who might have sensory sensitivities. My professional preference is to only use these under the advice of an Occupational Therapist or Physician. Only a qualified professional can tell you what the right weight is and how to use it safely.

Newborn baby sleeping in a swaddle

Fabric choices

Fleece is a common and popular fabric choice for winter gear. However, fleece being a synthetic fiber is not a very breathable fabric and it can increase the risk of overheating.

Opt, as much as possible, for natural options like 100% cotton or wool. If you need to layer up, adding layers of cotton is better than fleece. Wool, although harder to find at an affordable price, is extremely efficient at maintaining a good body temperature so it’s a fantastic choice if you need something for cold nights.

Loose bedding or hoodies

As you probably know already, any loose bedding is not ideal where the baby is sleeping. Keep their sleep space free of pillows, blankets, and stuffies until at least their first birthday. Hoodies on clothing are also not ideal as they could get tangled up when the baby moves and cause strangulation. One idea for daytime naps is to simply take off most of their clothing and leave them in their onesie and then add a sleep sack on top.

Comfort and Ease

Let’s make sure your baby is feeling cozy and we make life easier for YOU.

Snaps vs zippers

You might have seen lots of memes onlines about parents telling you to ‘get the damn zippers!’. They’re not wrong- zipper pj’s, especially ones that zip from top or bottom are much easier to use for those middle of the night diaper changes.

That said, snaps aren’t totally useless. For example, if your baby is in the NICU and they have monitors strapped to them, a snappy PJ can be really helpful. So don’t completely discount them! But yeah, if your baby doesn’t need the snaps you’ll probably prefer the zips. 

How Warm Should the Sleep Space be?

What we know is that generally humans sleep best when their house is cooler at night than during the day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal room temperature for infants to sleep in is around 69°F/20.5°C.

That said, I would be remiss to point out that this is just not possible for all families to achieve. For starters, not all families have access to indoor heating or climate control, let alone being able to choose a specific temperature they want inside. So we need to be realistic with managing temperature.

The other thing I like to point out is that just like all adults prefer different temperatures, the same goes for babies! For example, I’ve worked with clients in Arizona who looked at me like I had 3 heads when I mentioned that 20.5 degrees is considered ideal. For them, this is way too cold, not to mention expensive to get their house that cool. Because their bodies are used to the Arizona heat, 24-25 might be a very comfortable inside temperature- whereas my Canadian self would feel like I’m about to melt. So remember that when you come across guides online- we all feel temperature differently and the important thing is how YOUR baby feels.

Having a fan going in the bedroom is almost always a good idea. It helps circulate the air and prevent hot pockets. The noise can also help drown out outside noise and become a sort of white noise for baby.

In dry winters, I often recommend a cool-mist humidifier. This doesn’t change the temperature per se, but it helps make you more comfortable in your sleep space. It can help a lot if baby experiences chronic congestion as well.

TOG rating and sleep sack charts

TOG stands for Thermal Overall Grade and it’s the preferred measure used by sleep sack companies. You will notice most sleep sacks have a TOG rating somewhere- usually ranging from 0.3TOG (for light summer sleep sacks) and 3.5TOG (for thicker winter sleep sacks).

Sleep sack companies often offer charts to help you know how to dress your baby under their sleep sacks. Here’s a couple examples:

Again, these can be a really helpful tool. What I always urge you to remember is that everyone responds to temperatures differently. For example, it’s about 20°C in your home and you have your baby in a 3.5 TOG sack with a long sleeve sleeper underneath. According to the chart by Ergo pouch this would be perfect. But say you are finding your baby is always waking up sweaty and/or they feel hot to the touch. Then please don’t just go by the chart! Go ahead and use a lighter pj or a lighter sleep sack and see how they do.

Are there signs a baby is cold or hot?

While checking their body is the best way, there might be some clues that your little one is too hot or too cold at night


A lot of infant sleep advice doesn’t take into account bedsharing. But it’s a reality that parents are bringing babies into bed and with more research, organizations like the NHS are updating their safe sleep recommendations.

When it comes to temperature, I urge you to consider if your baby is bed-sharing some of the time. What I often find is that a baby who is bed-sharing struggles to sleep in their own space due to being cold. Don’t get me wrong, they want to be close to you for a million reasons. But this is one that can easily be modified. 

Consider that when your child is in your bed you are providing body heat. And when they are away from you that is missing. One good sign of this is that they wake often and want to stay close to you for cuddles, even if they don’t need nursing or other soothing. So my rule of thumb is to add an extra layer when the baby is sleeping alone. This could just look like taking off their sleep sack when they come to your bed.

Mom and baby bed sharing safely


Like everything else baby sleep, it’s important to understand the science but also trust your gut! You might even get pushback from family members. My son was born in early summer and our apartment did not have AC. That means he was often hanging out in just a diaper. My mother in law often made remarks about this and I just smiled and nodded. It’s hard to get people out of the mindset of bundling babies up but I knew that he was comfortable and bundling wouldn’t make sense for him in that moment. So don’t be afraid to push back!

Anyways, if baby sleep is becoming difficult or stressful for you and you don’t want to sleep train I am here to help! Check out my coaching services for 1:1 support. And see my Podia site for lots of affordable webinars, guides, and courses.

Let me know what topic you want me to tackle next!

Help! My baby keeps waking up so early

Early rising is a common concern amongst parents. In the sleep world, early rising is generally considered waking up for the day before 6AM. But it might look different for your family depending on your rhythms.

As I write this, it’s been a couple of weeks since ‘Fall Back’ daylight savings time so many parents are struggling with early wakes as their little ones adjust to their new routine. If this is the case, give it a couple of weeks before you try to troubleshoot too much- your child will likely adjust on their own. But if early wakes are a regular occurrence, let’s get explore some possible reasons:

But first, is it a problem?

Before we dive into possible reasons, let me make this clear: early rising is not likely a problem to your child’s health and wellbeing. If your child is chronically overtired, you’ll know. You might see more fussiness, lasting less time between naps, looking pale, etc. These are rarely caused by a scheduling problem but rather a health problem such as low iron or sleep apnea. It’s really important to rule those out before assuming our children are overtired. 

Of course, early rising can be a problem for US. And that’s fair. It might impact how we show up as parents so if there’s something we can do it’s certainly worth a shot. What I never recommend is leaving your baby to cry alone in order to ‘teach’ them to sleep. 

Sleep Environment

When a parent is struggling with early rising, one of the first things I look at is the sleep environment. Mostly because it’s one of the simplest things to change should it be the cause. By the time early morning rolls around, your baby has much less sleep drive than they did at the start of the night. So something simple that wakes them up could be the reason they can’t get back to sleep. Some things to consider:

  • Light. Is there sunlight filtering in the room in the early morning? If so, try installing blackout blinds to help. 
  • Sound. Is a parent getting up early in the morning to go to work? Is a fan kicking on? The coffee machine starting up? Maybe the sound machine turns off at a certain time?
  • Temperature. Is your baby waking up cold? Perhaps the temperature changes throughout the night or your toddler kicks off their sheets?

Most parents I work with have already investigated these items but it doesn’t hurt to take another look just to make sure as it is much easier to change a blind then try and correct a whole schedule.


Similar to sleep environment, this is something we want to take a look at. Often we’re expecting our little ones to go more than 12 hours without a meal and that’s just a long time! In the first year of life there’s a lot of ebbs and flows with feeding, especially if you’re body feeding. Please continue to nurse your infant on demand! You have not failed because your child needs to feed at night, even if they were previously able to sleep through. 

In toddlers, I often see this with kids who are recently weaned. It’s not just that we’ve taken away their milk at night, it’s that we don’t often consider how long they’re going without a meal. For example, a toddler goes to bed at 8PM and wakes up at 7AM on a good day. Dinner is at 6 and breakfast is not until 730. That means they’re going 13.5 hours without a meal! If this is the case, consider:

  • A bedtime snack high in proteins and fats. The idea is to cut down the amount of time they’re going between meals so if dinner is at 6 and bedtime is at 8, consider a simple snack right before they brush their teeth.
  • Have a snack ready to go first thing in the morning. Could be just a fruit or a cereal bar.

Sleep Totals

This is by far the most common reason I see for early wakes: the disconnect between our expectations and how much sleep our children really need. The following chart is based on research and compiled by the National Sleep Foundation:

As you can see, the ranges are really wide! Which is why sample routines per age group make no sense. Now, the key is figuring out how much sleep YOUR unique child needs. First look at your child and assess their behavior. If they seem chronically tired let’s look into that further. If they don’t, proceed to get their sleep averages. To do this, track your child’s sleep for 3 days and count how many hours they are actually asleep for. Then add it all together and divide by 3. That should give you an average of their daily sleep needs. Now you want to look at their schedule and compare their actual sleep needs vs how many hours you’re expecting them to sleep.

For example, Lily is 13 months old and needs an average of 12 hours of sleep in a 24hr period. She takes a 1.5hr nap every day and her bedtime is 7PM. She is waking at 530AM every morning and her parents are getting so frustrated. 

Well, Lily is getting 10.5hrs overnight and 1.5 during the day, totalling the 12 hrs that she needs. It’s not her sleep that’s the problem but the expectations. 

Understanding this, her parents decide to cap Lily’s nap at 1hr and move her bedtime to 8PM. She now wakes at 700AM totalling 11 hrs overnight plus 1 hr during the day. She’s not sleeping any MORE than she was before, but this new schedule works best for Lily’s family.

You might have heard, however, that going to bed later means kids wake up earlier. This can happen with abrupt changes. If you are going to push your child’s bedtime later, do it slowly and give it a couple of weeks for them to adjust.

Developmental Progressions

Sometimes frequent early wakes happen when your child is going through a major developmental milestone. It could be gross motor skills, brain development, growth spurt, teething… so many causes for potential sleep disruptions.  If that’s the case, give it a couple of weeks before trying to change anything.

Is early rising an issue in your house? Let me know! And if you are having a hard time navigating sleep with your infant or toddler and you know sleep training isn’t for you? Check out my 1:1 support options here or peruse my on demand offers. Be sure to follow me on Instagram as well for tons of free support and an amazing community.

Happy sleep!


Why is my toddler taking forever to fall asleep?

Let’s talk about long toddler bedtimes. These can be downright infuriating for parents. I’ve been there, it’s so hard to stay calm and not get frustrated when we are just looking for a break at the end of the day. There are lots of reasons this could be happening and in this post I’ll cover the most common ones. Like anything to do with sleep, there is no one size fits all. You’ll have to take what makes most sense for your family and do some trial and error. Always remember to stay in touch with your instincts and follow your baby’s lead!

How long should bedtime take?

Sleep onset latency is how long it takes someone to go from fully awake to asleep. Generally speaking, a healthy person takes between 10-20 minutes to fall asleep (as per the National Sleep Foundation). If the amount is too short it could indicate that the person is sleep deprived. Whereas if it takes too long, it can indicate under-tiredness or some of the other things we shall discuss today.

Sleep Totals

Every child has a unique amount of sleep needs. The chart below shows the general sleep needs as per the National Sleep Foundation. Each child will fall somewhere in that chart. Notice the ranges are really wide! So if you have a baby that generally needs about 11 hours of sleep in a 24hr period and you are expecting them to take a 2hr nap and sleep 7-7… well… I’m sure you can see the problem. That child will likely have really long bedtimes, very early wakes, or split nights (when a child is awake for 1+ hours in the middle of the night). 

Sleep Totals as per the the National Sleep Foundation

When it comes to toddlers, this is the most common cause I see for long bedtimes. Little ones will be taking 2-3 hour naps and then taking forever to fall asleep at bedtime. So take a look at the nap times and see if capping the nap slightly helps. Start small (for example, capping at 1.5 hours and then take it from there).

To wake them gently, start by making some noise around the house and letting more light in. Then gently rub their back or hug them so it’s not a brisk wake. A good tip is to have snacks on hand to help them perk up. Of course, if with all these tips your toddler seems really miserable for the afternoon it might not be worth it to shorten the nap.

Bedtime is Too Early

A study found that parents struggling with toddler bedtimes were often putting their babies to sleep too early. You might hear that 7PM is the ideal bedtime. But in reality, it is different for every baby and most older toddlers actually benefit from a later bedtime. 

While we can all empathize wanting to get your kids to sleep earlier, a 9-10PM bedtime might be more prudent for your toddler.


A really important aspect of sleep that the mainstream narrative is missing is that sleep is separation. What do I mean? When you go to sleep you are no longer with the person you love, you are unconscious and you cannot be sure they are right there. For infants and toddlers, this is really scary as they are wired to stay close to an attachment figure. Feeling close and connected with their caregiver is what helps them feel safe enough to fall asleep.

What happens in our modern society is that we’re often spending a lot of time with our kids but we’re not spending a lot of time WITH our kids. We are on our phones, doing chores, focused on a million things…. Our children need quality time with us to feel seen. If your toddler suddenly wants to tell you about their day when it’s bedtime… chances are they are using this as connection time with you.

One option is to go with it: enjoy this special 1:1 time with them and use it to connect after a long day. Option two is to add connection time during the day. Scheduling special time with your children is an amazing tool that can go such a long way.

Sensory Needs/Activity Level

If your child seems to be really wiggly and restless at bedtime, this might be the culprit. Little ones are made to be active. In our modern society, babies and toddlers are often spending a lot of time inside ‘containers’ which limit their movement. Step #1 is to make sure they’re getting as much free time to move during the day as possible.

Now you might be the parent that says ‘my kid is moving ALL DAY and they’re still restless’. In that case, your little one might just have higher sensory needs than other children. The girls over at Development Tools have a fantastic resource you can download for free.

The two that come up most often are proprioceptive input and vestibular input. To put it simply, a little one that is seeking proprioceptive input might be the kid that jumps up and down all day, likes to bump into things, doesn’t seem to know their strength, etc. If this sounds like your kiddo, try providing them with lots of ‘heavy work’ games during the day to ensure they get those sensory needs met.

As for vestibular input, a child that is seeking in this area might be running around a lot, love swings, love going upside down, and require lots of motion to fall asleep. Provide them with lots of vestibular movement during the day such as swinging, rocking, bouncing, spinning, etc. Learn more about sensory diets here.

Don’t be afraid to do some rough and tumble play at bedtime if your child needs it. Try different things and see what works! 

Please note this is a very simplified version of sensory needs. Check out the links provided and if you have any concerns, reach out to an Occupational Therapist for support.

Screen Time

Is your child getting a lot of screen time during the day? No judgement, I get we sometimes need it to survive. But what I want you to understand is that for little ones watching too much TV can be really overstimulating. It causes their senses to go on overload from all of the images, sounds, etc but their bodies aren’t moving in response to it. 

The other concern is that the blue light coming from screens interferes with your little one’s circadian rhythm. It tells their brain it is still daytime, preventing them from producing the melatonin they need to fall asleep.

My recommendation is to be sure to turn off screens 1-2 hours before bedtime. Also dim the lights slightly to signal bedtime is coming. During the day, try to keep screen time to a minimum and always make sure it is met with lots of gross motor play during the day.


The last factor I’ll touch on today is stress. This goes for you and your baby but we’ll start with your baby. Going to sleep is extremely vulnerable and requires us to feel safe and calm. Although it seems to us that babies and toddlers have an easy life, they have a lot to be stressed about. The world is big and scary and they don’t always understand it. Oftentimes it is in the comfort of their bed at night and in your arms that it all comes out. Think of it like coming home after a long hard day at work: sometimes you just need to vent!

If you are noticing this with your baby or toddler, try and build in some time for them to release those emotions. You might be thinking ‘but they’re not even verbal yet!’. That’s alright, you can still give them space to release their emotions. This might be why your toddler suddenly hates every color cup you give them even though they loved it yesterday. 

One great way to help your toddler de-stress is play. Play is the best medicine for kids. Don’t be afraid to make bedtime fun and exciting. Chase them around the house, engage in rough and tumble play, make funny noises and silly faces. Observe how your child reacts and always stay in tune with them. For some kids, they might need some wind down time after playing. Others can go straight from chasing to bed. There’s no right or wrong here, just test it out and find what works!

Your State of Mind

Last but not least, how are YOU feeling at bedtime? Like we said before, babies need to feel safe and calm at bedtime to be able to drift off. The thing is little ones are also highly intuitive. They pick up on our moods, especially those of their primary caregiver. So if you are feeling anxious and stressed at bedtime, chances are your baby is feeling that way too.

Try practicing some mindfulness before starting the bedtime routine if you know you’ll get frustrated. As well, repeat some mantras to yourself:

They’re not giving me a hard time, they’re having a hard time

It is a privilege to be my child’s safe space

It won’t always be this way. They won’t always be this little

These can help to keep you in the right state of mind so you can calm your baby to sleep. Of course if you are experiencing signs of Post Partum Mood Disorders, please seek help through Post Partum Support International.

I hope this article was helpful! Let me know if you tried any of these strategies or had any ‘aha!’ moments. If you need further support, visit the Sleep Coaching tab for a list of services so I can help you out!

Happy sleeping!

‘Fall Back’ Time Change and My Child’s Sleep

On November 7th, Daylight Saving ends in the majority of the United States and Canada. Remember the times when the biggest issue with the time change was making sure you switched your clocks? Parenthood brings a whole other level to this doesn’t it?

Like many parents, you might be concerned about what the time change means for your little one. So let’s talk about it.

What does the time change entail?

On Saturday night, the clocks will ‘fall back’ one hour. That means that 1AM will now become 12AM. For childless adults this is cause for celebration as you ‘gain’ one hour. But those of us with little kids know that our little ones do not care about our schedules.

How can this affect my household?

The trickiest thing about this change is the potential of having really early wakes. If your child is already waking up at 6AM, for example, they will now be waking at 5AM. If you have been struggling with late bedtimes, however, this is a perfect way to move bedtime earlier without trouble.

Option one: do nothing

This is generally the option we take in our household as we are able to be flexible with my son’s schedule since we both work from home. If you gotta get to work/daycare in the morning this might not work.

With this option, you just adjust the bedtime the day of the time change and follow your child’s cues. You are trusting sleep will sort itself out and/or making peace with a different schedule in the winter season than the summer season.

I also recommend this approach for little babies, especially under 6 months. Until 6 months, your baby’s circadian rhythm isn’t fully established so it is easier to change patterns (that’s if they have a pattern to begin with).

Option 2: Slow Approach.

This approach is going to be helpful for older toddlers/children who have established schedules. It will also be helpful for little ones who are naturally more set in their routines (some babies have high rhythmicity while others are a little more unpredictable).

What you want to do is move bedtime later by an hour. For example, if your little one usually goes to bed at 7PM, you want to work towards an 8PM bedtime so that when the time changes it becomes 7PM again.

You can take this change as slow or quickly as needed depending on your child’s temperament. Below is an example of how this might look with a slow approach:

You can adjust this approach based on your child’s needs. For example, you might switch bedtime by 15m every day instead of every 3 days. Or you might do a whole week instead.

Use light to your advantage.

Anytime you are adjusting your little one’s schedule, use light to help you. This means using sunlight/darkness to help manipulate their circadian rhythm.

1- One to two hours before bedtime, draw the curtains and dim the lights. Turn off screens and if possible, use a red light bulb or candles for lighting. This helps your child know it’s getting close to bedtime.

2- Use blackout or dark curtains at night. Darkness triggers our body to produce melatonin so it’s helpful to go to sleep in a dark room.

3- Keep the room dark until desired wake time. If your little one wakes really early- say 5AM- don’t ignore them! Get up with them and go about your routine but try keeping the lights dim and things generally quiet.

4- Expose your child to lots of sunlight during the day. In fact, I recommend napping in the light as well. This helps your child understand the difference between day and night. Not to mention the amazing benefits of getting their daily dose of vitamin D.

That’s all for today’s post! If you found this helpful, share with a friend that might need it! If you’re struggling with your little one’s sleep, reach our for a 1:1 consult! Click here to book your free 15m discovery call (no strings attached!).

Let’s Talk About Floor Beds

IKEA KURA Hack floor bed

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.

IKEA Kura hack floor bed
Our floor bed is a common IKEA hack. It is the Kura bed, with the mattress on the floor

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.

Cuddling toddler
Cuddling my son to sleep in his floor bed

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.

Pikler triangle floor bed ramp
Pikler triangle + floor bed + ramp = FUN

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.

Final Thoughts

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.