Montessori Madness: The Floor Bed

The other morning I walked into Juniper’s room to find this:

A true Montessori moment.  If you google for images of floor beds, you come across a lot of pictures like this, so I was expecting it, but it was a little weird.  Juniper has been rolling over in her sleep a lot lately.  Usually she cries, and I go in to find her playing superman on her belly, unable to turn back over to go to sleep.  I guess since she’s always slept on her back, and played on her tummy, she doesn’t realize that sleep can happen on her belly too.  Until two days ago. 

This wasn’t the first time I’ve found her in a strange place, but it was the first time that she’d still been asleep.  My first instinct was to go in and turn her back over (or at the very least re-position her so that all of her body was on the mattress), and probably if had been the middle of the night I would have.  But since it was 6am, and I knew she’d be up for the day in the next hour, I left her.  About a half hour later she started squirming around so I moved her back onto the bed on her back and she slept for a little longer that way. 

It probably seems a little weird to leave a baby in an awkward position, but I do think that is all part of using a floor bed.  You’re letting the child figure out how to move around, and also letting them feel that they have power over their own body.  She was sleeping peacefully in her awkward position, so why move her?  Once she wasn’t happy anymore, and she wasn’t able to get to a comfortable position on her own, I stepped in and helped her out.  As with all the Montessori works, it’s all about finding that fine balance between letting the child work independently (and possibly struggle) without letting her get too frustrated.  If frustration (as opposed to a little struggle to accomplish something) sets in, then learning stops. 

So, I guess you could say that the floor bed is working out for us.  Juniper seems to prefer it to her crib, and I prefer it to her crib (I can still lay down to nurse her in the night and pretend that I am still asleep).  Granted, she isn’t crawling yet, so that may throw a wrench in things, but we’ll see.  I’m actually looking forward to her being able to crawl to her sleep space when she is tired (this is the floor bed in practice ideal, but I realize that it may not happen).  We haven’t gotten rid the crib yet, it’s just in the basement in case we decide we need it in a few months, but for now I’m sold.  


  1. It's nice to hear your experience with the floor bed! We will also be using the floor bed....can't wait!

  2. Kathy, it is so great thus far. It was really an easy transition for us to go from having her in the co-sleeper to having her on the floor bed. Until she got too big for it though, the co-sleeper was the way to go in the early weeks. We had one that went in the bed between us- the only thing I wished that I had done was get a different mattress for it (it comes with a vinyl covered one, if I'd known how much we would like it I would have bought a natural wool bassinet mattress for it).

  3. my daughter is 7 months old and we just started the floor bed. we were co-sleeping with her in our bed and for a while we tried the crib, which did not work and I couldn't bring myself to ferberize her. Having worked at a Montessori School I figured there's gotta to be something better and the floor bed is what we are doing now. for a the last week I have tried weaning her off breastfeeding to sleep. In the morning and afternoons I feed her and then play with her and then let her sleep on her own. By letting her sleep on her own I mean pretending to sleep next to her on our bed while I have my arm over her as if I'm hugging her. Not tightly, just so she would stay laying down. this would work, but still she would cry from 10 minutes to 30 and fall asleep exhausted. I realized I could transfer her to the floor bed after this and see if she would put herself to sleep on her own. Tried it today for the first time and she was clearly sleepy because she kept rubbing her eyes, but it still took her 1 hour to make her way to me as I pretend to sleep on her floor bed. and when she got there she kept pulling at me, eventually fell off the floor bed and onto the floor. I felt so bad because she was clearly exhausted. So, I took her from the floor laid her on the floor bed and proceeded to sing to her. This didn't work. She still cried and cried. So I started to pat her back. This worked and within a couple of minutes she was asleep. Still, I feel discouraged and would really like any suggestions from you. thank you!

  4. I don't understand what you mean that she's trying to find her way to you on the floor bed. We've used the floor bed for both of our kids now (Juniper actually transferred to a regular bed this past summer. What I do/did is to put them down for nap or bedtime just as I would if they were in a crib, then I walk away. Juniper experimented more with crawling around her room, and would sometimes get frustrated and fall asleep in the middle of the floor. Out younger child has not done this for naps at all, he just sleeps, but did experiment with moving around his room during the night.

    To me, it sounds like you might need to have more of a routine around nap time, for both of my kids, I nursed them before naps, laid them down and left the room. It was a pretty easy process for both of them, and if there was resistance I usually went in, laid them back down, gave them a pat, and left again. Once I wasn't nursing before naps anymore, I read a book. There is no way either of my kids would fall asleep if I stayed in the room.