Believe it or not, it is possible to use a Montessori floor bed with twins, as well as a singleton! We have twins and decided not to use the traditional crib and try out the Montessori floor bed. I love that it supports child independence so well! Given my Montessori background, I wanted to give it a try. I had seen floor beds be successful as well as a positive experience friends of mine with their baby, however, I wasn’t able to find much information about using Montessori floor beds with twins. In this post, I will share about Montessori floor beds, some of the common questions asked, the benefits of a floor bed, and my experience using them with twins.
What is a Montessori bed?
Dr. Maria Montessori talks about using a low bed for a child to sleep on. This bed should be something they can get in and out of at their choosing. She also describes allowing an environment where they can fall asleep when they are tired, this is the Montessori nursery. Well, you may be thinking that sounds absolutely crazy, and to be honest, when I first started I didn’t know how it would go. 8 months in with twin boys and I wouldn’t want it any other way!
A Montessori bed is a low bed that supports the child’s independence and freedom of movement. A Montessori-style bed can be of different sizes! We use one twin and one crib-sized mattress on the floor. We will transition to using 2 twin-sized mattresses. I would recommend the twin-size mattress.
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What is Montessori?
Just so we are all on the same page I’ll give a very brief overview of Montessori. Montessori is an educational philosophy that Dr. Maria Montessori created. The Montessori method is an approach to educating and forming children that focuses on the relationship between 3 things (among others): the prepared environment, the prepared adult, and the child. Having these 3 things working together as well as having an understanding of the developmental needs of children, the outcome can be quite lovely!
There is much more to Montessori philosophy than what I outlined above. So here are 4 things I think everyone should know about Montessori if you want more information!
Are Montessori beds safe for infants?
Yes, Montessori floor beds are safe for infants and it is possible to use them to create a safe sleep space. Here’s how and why!
- A floor bed is a low bed with a firm mattress, which makes it safe. You can purchase a floor bed frame or you can simply use a mattress on the floor.
- The Montessori nursery or sleeping space is prepared by the adult to be a safe space. All potential hazards are removed or out of the child’s reach. You also address any other safety concerns, like a hard floor, by laying down an area rug. In another blog post, I write about how to baby-proof a Montessori nursery, which will help you make sure you have a safe place for your baby to sleep if you choose to use a floor bed.
- Use a sleep sack instead of loose blankets. (I like these ones which have feet openings for when your child starts moving around)
- Your child doesn’t risk falling out of a crib. Instead, they may topple a few inches onto the floor. In my experience, they don’t get hurt when coming off of their floor bed.
What age is best for a Montessori bed?
We gradually phased in the Montessori floor bed from the beginning of their life. For the first 3 months, we used a bedside bassinet (a twin version) during nighttime sleep. It is recommended to have your baby in your sleep space with you and I found this essential, especially with all of the feedings in the middle of the night.
You can always transition to a floor bed when you feel the time is best. I can’t speak to what the adjustment may be like for a child who is transitioning out of their crib and onto a floor bed. I would imagine, like with any big change, there will be an initial adjustment period and then it will become normal.
Our transition to the floor bed with Twins
A month or so after the boys were born we began laying the them down on their floor beds during daytime naps. After awhile, the twin bassinet became challenging to use because they were so close to each other and would wake one another up in the night. Then we transitioned to using two firm crib-sized mattresses on the floor in our bedroom for nighttime sleep. Around 5 months, we had another transition period where we put them to bed at night in their Montessori nursery and then when they woke up in the night to feed I would go get them, bring them into our room and then put them on their floor bed in our room after they ate. After a few weeks of doing this it just seemed best to keep them in their room during the night. I would go into their room to feed them, then return to my bedroom. Now they take all naps and sleep all night in their room; it works out very well for us.
Up until about 4.5 months old, I would rock or nurse my babies to sleep for naps and bedtime. With twins this was quite the task! Around 4.5 months they were beginning to put themselves to sleep, which was amazing! We now have a very simple nap time routine: fed, changed, up to bedroom, put sleep sacks on, turn sound machine on, lay them on their bed and say goodnight and then leave the room. They typically play for 10-30 minutes before falling asleep. Occasionally I will go in and support them going to sleep by putting them back on their bed, patting their bottom or nursing them a little more. It all depends on how they are doing and what support I feel they need from me at the time.
Do Montessori floor beds work?
In my experience, yes, Montessori floor beds work. Now, I’m not saying it is the solution to sleep but I have peace of mind knowing that my children are hopefully developing healthy sleep patterns in a safe sleep space. They still have physical boundaries (the Montessori bedroom itself) without being confined or contained to a crib.
We have created a bedtime routine that has helped foster their room as a sleep space. The routine is very similar to the nap time routine, just with a story and bedtime prayers before laying them down.
Montessori floor beds provide many learning experiences for sure! There are so many opportunities for freedom of movement, and to me, this is a great benefit. For our family, the Montessori floor bed has worked well.
Can you use Montessori floor beds with infant twins?
Yes! I am living proof that you can use Montessori floor beds with twins. It is a unique situation but can be done. We started using the Montessori floor bed consistently at around 1 or 2 months of age. You will need a space with enough room for 2 mattresses or floor bed frames. You also need to ensure that you can properly baby-proof the room for their safety!
But won’t my baby roll off?
Yes. Your baby will get off of their floor bed. However, in my experience, they quickly learn to notice the edge of the bed and they navigate getting off of the bed independently. Sometimes it is less than graceful, but that is a physical skill they are developing! If anything, it is giving them many more opportunities to work on their motor skills.
Benefits of a Montessori Floor Bed
The biggest benefit I have experienced in using a floor bed is not needing to reach over the bars of a crib to soothe a baby back to sleep. Seriously, this has been incredible with twins! I can lay right next to them when needed, which is why I would recommend a bigger bed (a twin over a crib-sized mattress). Another benefit I have noticed since having a floor bed is how it supports your child’s independence. Using a floor bed gives your child so many opportunities for physical movement.
Montessori floor beds communicate something to the child, they convey the idea that we trust them. We trust them to know when they are tired. As the prepared adult, we guide children to what is good for them. For example, I am aware of the wake windows at different stages and I support and guide my children to sleep. Over the last few months, they have slowly been able to have more independence when it comes to sleep.
I know all children are different when it comes to sleep, but in my experience, when they are free to move about they will, and then they will stop moving and fall asleep when they are tired. Practically speaking, this means they fall asleep on the floor. Now that my boys are more mobile, they will actually climb back up into bed after they have played for a while to fall asleep. It’s pretty amazing what young children are capable of.
Another one of my favorite aspects of having a floor bed is the freedom of movement before and after sleep. My boys would wake up from naps and then continue to play, explore and move around their bedroom, as well as play before falling asleep. I have seen this foster more independence and contentment in them.
What are the best Montessori floor beds?
There are a few high-quality natural wood options when it comes to choosing a floor bed. They sell low Montessori bed frames, which are more of your traditional beds without height. If you live in humid climates you may consider a floor bed frame at the very least to allow airflow under the mattress. We have gotten away with a firm mattress on the floor, moving it to vacuum regularly.
You may see “Montessori beds” but they actually have quite a few sides on them. While this may be a good option in some situations, it is important to consider the Montessori principles around floor beds. One of the main reasons to use a floor bed is that the child has the freedom to get on and off of their bed. By having a bed frame with many sides, it can defeat the whole purpose.
The best Montessori floor beds I have seen come from Sprout, they also make lots of other Montessori-friendly furniture.
I hope the information in this post has been useful as you discern if a Montessori floor bed is the right fit for your child and family.