Needing to baby proof our Montessori nursery came faster than I thought!! Most things in a Montessori nursery are naturally baby proof, but there are a few important things to consider! Our twin boys are 6 months old and I began seeing the need to get everything baby proofed so that they have a safe space to move about with total freedom. I could have done some of these things earlier on, but they weren’t moving yet so it didn’t seem totally necessary…until now!
I’ll start with a brief overview about what a Montessori nursery is and why it is important to baby proof it!
What is a Montessori Nursery?
A Montessori nursery is a space in your home prepared for your baby. There are 4 areas in a Montessori nursery: a space for sleeping, feeding, changing/dressing and movement/play. Your baby should sleep in your room during the night for at least 6 months, as recommended by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics). Because of this, your baby may not sleep in the nursery for some time. This is helpful as you have many more frequent night feedings for the first few months and it is beneficial for your baby to be near you. However, you can use the floor bed for daytime naps, I did this and really liked it!
A common Montessori bassinet is a Moses Basket, which you could place directly onto the floor bed. They also make stands for Moses baskets that you can place next to your bedside for the first few months. After your baby outgrows their bassinet, you could use a floor bed in your room if you are not yet wanting to move them into their own room. We did this and it worked out well.
An Overview of the Areas in a Montessori Nursery
- A Montessori sleeping area consists of a floor bed instead of a traditional crib. This allows your baby freedom of movement as well as an unobstructed view of the bedroom. Some parents may transition to a floor bed later an still use a crib initially if they are uncomfortable with the idea of a floor bed. Transition to a floor bed as soon as they are able to independently climb in and out of it; this is around 12-15 months of age.
- You can use a crib sized mattress or larger – I liked using a twin sized mattress.
- A floor bed is a mattress directly on the floor or a frame that is low to the ground with a mattress on it. The frame will help keep any moisture from the mattress. If you use just a mattress on the floor move the mattress regularly and vacuum underneath.
- The mattress should be firm and covered with a fitted sheet.
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- Have a comfortable chair for nursing or bottle feeding
- Consider a chair that rocks
- You may want an ottoman to put your feet up
Changing Station and Dressing Area
- Prepare a place to change diapers and dress your baby. This can either be on top of a dresser or on the floor.
- Consider a child sized Montessori wardrobe. Check out this blog post on How to Make a Montessori Wardrobe.
Curious how to set up a movement area? Check out this blog post on How to Set up a Movement Area for Newborns. You may choose to have
How a Montessori nursery supports the needs of your baby
A Montessori nursery is prepared with your babies needs in mind. A bed low to the floor supports your babies need for movement and exploration. A movement area with a mirror and a low shelf with some toys meet their need for movement and exploration as well. A space prepared for diaper changes and getting dressed supports the physical needs your baby has. By having a specific place in the home for diaper changes and getting dressed your baby will use this as a point of reference and become familiar with this area in the home and what it is for.
How to Baby Proof a Montessori Nursery
There are many things to consider when you are making a Montessori nursery baby proof. You have the think that anything and everything is available for my baby to explore safely. Cords are secured away, outlets are covered, floors are clean and clear and any furniture or shelving is secured to the wall.
For outlets that are not in use you need to use outlet covers to keep your little one from putting anything in the outlet. There are various models of outlet covers to choose from but they all have the same goal of keeping your child safe!
Cords are a natural part of a nursery. We have our baby monitor, a sound machine and a lamp plugged in. When your baby is free to move around their room they would be able to pull on those cords and pull something down on to themself. Secure both the cords and the outlet where these devices are plugged in.
You will also need outlet cover boxes on the outlets that have things plugged into them. When I installed these I felt like things were very safe now!
If you have hard floors in the bedroom consider getting a rug to place on the side of the bed. Make sure any rug or blanket laid down is not loose or it could be a risk for SIDS. When your baby begins moving it is natural for them to want to explore and they will likely roll off of their mattress. Remember though that they are only 4-6 inches off of the floor. My twins rolled off their floor bed quite often and they are just fine! You will want to vacuum or sweep the floor regularly
Furniture or Shelving
If you have any shelving, you will want to anchor it to the wall so that your child can’t pull it down upon themselves.
Have a low shelf or a small basket with some toys that are developmentally appropriate. Make sure that these toys are not a choking hazard. You can use this anti-choking tester to see if toys are a hazard for choking. Offer toys and materials that are developmentally appropriate for your baby.
Windows and Doors
When your baby is playing or sleeping in their room unattended keep the door closed. This will prevent them from getting out of the nursery and into another area of the home without you knowing. Obviously this is highly unlikely before 6 months of age! But once a baby begins rolling they sure can travel a distance!!
Make sure the windows lock. Again, not a concern for young babies but as your baby gets bigger and more curious, this is an important aspect!
A Montessori Nursery for Twins from 0-6 months
I prepared a Montessori nursery for my twins, which are my first babies. We started with them in a twin bassinet in our bedroom for the first few months. Around 1.5 months I began to place them on their floor bed for naps during the daytime. This was one way I helped them grow comfortable sleeping in that space. When they outgrew their bassinet and no longer slept well right next to each other, we got 2 crib sized mattresses and placed them on the floor in our bedroom. Some nights we would co-sleep, but when one baby would wake up, I would put the other one back on their floor bed and then bring the next baby into bed with me. We did that all night long 🙂
Around 5/6 months when their bedtime moved earlier we put them to sleep in their bedroom at night. At the moment, we have one on a twin mattress on the floor and one crib sized mattress. When one baby wakes up in the night to feed, I will go nurse him while laying in bed with him. This is a huge perk to the floor bed, in my opinion! Many times I will fall asleep there myself and wake up to the other baby wanting to eat. At times I would bring the boys into our bed, but it seems like that naturally has decreased and they spend most nights in their bedroom.
How is a Montessori nursery/bedroom different than a traditional nursery?
A Montessori nursery is different than a traditional nursery in that it is prepared exclusively for the needs of the baby. It doesn’t have the common conveniences that you may find in a traditional nursery. In a lot of ways I found it simpler to prepare a Montessori nursery, it required less stuff in my opinion. However, a Montessori nursery requires a bit more thought in terms of baby proofing because we are allowing our babies total freedom to move around that space as they please.
One key difference between a Montessori nursery an a traditional nursery is having a floor bed instead of a crib. Also, you may see mobiles above the sleeping space in a traditional nursery where in a Montessori nursery the mobiles are hung separate from where the baby sleeps; they are placed in a designated movement area. Montessori nursery’s are simple, with just the essentials.
Twins in a Montessori Nursery – My Experience
My family thought I was a little crazy. They couldn’t believe that I was going to be sleeping twins on floor beds. 7 months in and we love it! Now, I don’t know any different but I know that my twins have come to love their bedroom. Probably my favorite thing is that when they wake up they will usually move around and find something to play with. Sometimes they will lay content for another 20-40 minutes once they wake up. They are free. Free to move, to explore and the best part is I know that it is a safe space for them!
I wasn’t sure how it would go with twins. They naturally wake each other up at times, but not all that often. Since they have begun moving more around the room, they find one another even when I place them on their bed to start their naps. They are starting to play with each other. Most days I hear them laughing at each other through the monitor. It has been a wonderful experience so far.
When baby proofing a Montessori nursery, consider the outlets, cords, floors, toys, furniture, windows and doors. Every time you leave the room after putting your baby to sleep take a quick look around to make sure that everything is safe for your baby to explore.