It looks like our popular Floor Bed Fridays feature on the CanDo Kiddo Facebook page will be going away for awhile. Our adventures with a Montessori Floor Bed are temporarily on hold pending resolution of some serious sleep issues.
Why We Chose a Montessori Floor Bed
We started using a floor bed because I liked the idea that it promoted independence and self-regulation. When baby wakes up, he can play on his own in his (totally baby-proofed) room. Often, kiddos with floor beds get off their bed in the night, only to get back on when they get sleepy or they fall asleep on the floor nearby.
It also sounded really nice to avoid the massive power struggle and headache of transitioning a toddler to a "big kid bed", a milestone that seems to usually coincide with Baby #2 being on the way (translation: pregnant, exhausted mama and the pressure of a deadline).
Admitting We Have a Sleep Problem
As they say in 12 Step Recovery programs, the first step is admitting we have a problem! We've had a long few months of ever-increasing nighttime wake-ups. Our little one went from waking to nurse twice a night like clock-work at 4 months to waking every 45-60 minutes screaming and needing lots of comforting and soothing to get back to sleep. All night. Every night. For two months.
The baby isn't the only one shedding tears in our house these days. His parents are running on fumes and our current sleep scenario just isn't allowing us to be the functional, sane, patient parents and people we want to be.
Considering a Professional Sleep Consultant
I found myself struggling to balance my love of Rowan's post-nap independent floortime play and my desire for him to get a healthy quantity and quality of sleep. The more I read, the more I realized he was showing every sign of overtiredness (as was I, but I didn't need a book to tell me that!).
At the point that we discussed paying heaps of money for a professional sleep consultant, I began to see our situation through a more objective lens (and one desperate to not write a big fat check to a sleep guru). We realized that the first things a professional would ask are "where does your child sleep" and "where do you want him to sleep?"
We had to face the fact that right now, our kiddo needs one consistent sleep spot and a regular naptime and bedtime routine. The reality was that he napped on his floor bed, started off his nights there and then migrated up to our room into our bed for much of the night because, frankly, we'd give up.
Because our long-term goal was not co-sleeping, we opted to focus our energies on helping Rowan learn to sleep in his own bed. As he got more mobile and less able to stay asleep, he started getting off the floor bed more frequently. Naptimes were feeling like a wrestling match and I realized that maybe the floor bed philosophy of letting your child decide when to sleep only works if he has the most basic of sleeping and self-soothing skills.
When What You Want and What Your Baby Needs Don't Align
The funny thing is, this whole thing made me realize how attached I had become to the idea of something as a parent, despite the reality that it may not be best right now for my kiddo. I think that setting intentions and laying plans for our parenting is really, really important. But I'm learning just how important it also let go or shift in order to be the best parent to our unique kid.
I know we owe it to our baby to help him figure this sleep thing out, even if it means a few months in a crib. So the mattress went back into his crib and, for now, our floor bed adventures have come to a halt. But I hope to reintroduce it when we have a great sleeper (sense my optimisim??!!).
I'm not the only one who will miss post-nap playtime! In this final farewell to the floorbed, Rowan's working HARD to get his buddy, Sam the Wonderdog's full attention. I'll miss these days, but I'll enjoy my sleep so much more!
UPDATE: In case anyone is curious about how we handled those sleep issues...here are 9 Surprising Things We Did When Our Baby Quit Sleeping.
Where and how your child sleeps is a hot-button topic in parenting. I completely respect every single family's right to make the choices that work for them and their child. That said, I got so much value, validation and support from reading other parents' sleep sagas, that I'll happily share the nitty gritty details of ours. But I don't want to jinx things, so I'll wait until we have more than 3 good nights of sleep under our belts to claim any level of success. Stay tuned....
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