Where your baby sleeps is a contentious issue for new parents. Like everything else, there is lots of conflicting advice and information. My advice is always the same, consider your parenting values, educate yourself on all of the options, the risks and benefits, and do what is right for your family!
Today I am going to give a brief overview of using a floor bed/mattress and some of the considerations if you go down this route.
A floor bed is a part of the Montessori approach and is seen as empowering, as you are providing a sleep surface that is in line with your child’s capabilities.
The benefit for mums is you can breastfeed your baby to sleep, then “ninja roll” away, without having to navigate the difficult cot transfer.
I like that a mattress on the floor is portable, so you can easily move it around the house and ensure your bub is exposed to the usual day time light, noise and activity which helps set their circadian clock (an important aspect of the Possums approach).
It’s also a cost effective option – buying a good quality mattress is cheaper than lots of fancy cots on the market.
These are some essential considerations if you are going to set up a floor bed or mattress:
· Make sure the room is baby proof! All furniture should be secured to the wall, make sure power sockets have some form of protection, remove any choking hazards, make sure chemicals and medications are out of reach etc. Go around the room and make sure anything that is within reach has been safely dealt with. There are some great tips on home safety at KidSafe WA https://kidsafe.com.au/home-safety/
· Pets and toddlers are like predators! I remember when my niece was a baby, and Miss 2 used to love saying “eyes” right before poking her in the eyes! Ensure that there is no unsupervised access to the baby by pets or toddlers.
· All the usual safe sleeping guidance should be observed – firm mattress, clean surfaces, considerations for temperature, no heavy bedding, baby’s face is uncovered etc. There is lots of information on the Red Nose website https://rednose.org.au/section/safe-sleeping.
· Make sure your baby cannot become trapped between the mattress and the wall (or other surface) as this is a suffocation risk.
· Consider popping the mattress on a carpeted area or rug, so that if they do roll off, it is onto a softer surface.
· Consider air flow and ventilation for the mattress. There is no evidence yet to support that it may be an issue, however, thoughts in this space are that it is important. An easy suggestion is to consider leaning the mattress up against a wall whilst not in use. This allows air to flow around the mattress.
· Consider mum’s comfort. If you are going to lie next to baby to get them off to sleep, make sure it is a surface that you are comfortable and feel supported on. Make sure you plan for safe co-sleeping in case you fall asleep next to them. These are a couple of links that may be useful to assess for safety considerations
Remember this is not a recommendation, but some information and links to resources that can help you make the best decision for your family.