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If you’re just starting out with a baby-friendly nursery, here is a short list of frequently asked questions.

What is a baby-friendly nursery?

A baby-friendly nursery is a safe environment that is designed with a focus on how the baby will use the space, rather than how a parent or adult might.

Notably missing in a baby-friendly room is the crib. In its place, a floor bed tucked in a corner is used so the baby can crawl into it when it’s time to sleep and crawl out of it when she’s had enough sleep.

Picture frames are hung low on the walls at their eye level to allow the baby to see them better. Low, sturdy shelves are also used so the baby can access toys and books easily.

The baby-friendly nursery should be baby-proofed by covering electrical sockets, securing and hiding all electrical, lamp and curtain cords and using stable shelving and furniture that can’t be tipped over. The door to the room should also have a safety gate installed.

Read related article: Baby-proof vs Baby-friendly

What is a floor bed?

A floor bed is a mattress placed either directly on the floor or on top of a floor covering such as a rug. Sometimes, a low, slatted base or bed frame is used. Typically, the mattress is firm and only a few inches (or several centimeters) thick.

The floor bed is central to a baby-friendly nursery where everything accessible to the child is something they explore and enjoy safely.

What are the advantages of using a floor bed?

In addition to everything mentioned in the video, a floor bed offers these advantages:

  • Life saver. You don’t have to worry about crib injuries like falling, getting limbs stuck between slats, or entrapment.
  • Economical. You can save that money you were going to spend on a crib and use it for things your baby actually needs.
  • Lumbar relief. You don’t have to hunch over or stand beside the crib while you stroke your baby to sleep.
  • Quick getaway. You can lie down with your baby, whether just staying with them or nursing them to sleep, and easily slip away after they’ve fallen asleep.
  • Unfettered views. Your baby has an unobstructed view of the entire room from the floor bed, offering him or her plenty of visual stimulation.
  • Quieter mornings. Because your baby has the freedom to move about, your mornings don’t begin with crying from the crib, pleading to be let out.

What kind of mattress should I use?

Use a firm, not soft, mattress that is approximately 4 inches (or 10 centimeters) for safety. A fall or roll from this height probably won’t hurt your baby, especially if you have some protective covering like a rug or playmat on the floor around the floor bed.

Read related article: How to Choose a Floor Bed Mattress

Do I need a bed guard?

Since the mattress is only a few inches or several centimeters high, falls or rolls aren’t really dangerous, and so bed guards aren’t necessary. After some time sleeping on a floor bed, babies become aware of the boundaries of the bed and stop themselves from rolling off.

There are, however, commercially available foam guards that slip under the bedsheet to create a soft wall on one side for babies used to the confinement of a crib or active sleepers. A free alternative is to roll up a towel and fit that under the sheet on one side of the bed.

How do I get my mobile baby to go to and stay in bed?

Associate the floor bed as the place where your baby sleeps. Whenever your baby shows signs of sleepiness or it’s naptime/bedtime, put her down on the floor bed so she starts to develop a habit of sleeping there.

If you keep at it, your baby will eventually sleep in her floor bed when she’s tired and will get up and play with her toys or books when she has had enough rest.

Be sure to install a safety gate at the door!


Video used with permission from Lisa

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Claire says:

    There are lots of things I like about having my baby on a mattress on the floor. But he’s now 8 – 9 months old and will get out of bed when he wakes up, or when he isn’t really ready to fall asleep, march over to the door, and cry. He sometimes does this 3 – 4 times before falling asleep. Any advice on how to navigate this time?

    • Voila Voila says:

      Claire, thanks for posting. At this age it is pretty normal that your boy has found the freedom the floor bed provides. I would make sure he has safe things to explore in his room. Also bringing him back to his bed gently without much commotion should help him get in the habit of staying there.

  2. derya says:

    This is a great website and was a source of inspiration when I was pregnant. My baby is now 9 months old, has been sleeping on her floor bed since 3 months old. She loves the bed and I think it makes bedtime for naps and night much easier than a crib would. I let her wander around the room if she feels like it. She sometimes makes 2-3 tours of the room. Then I put her back to bed and mostly she sleeps. If not I hug her, or sing a lullaby and that does the trick. So thanks for the website and inspiration.
    My problem is her rolling off the bed constantly at night. She sleep crawls I think as it is more than just rolling off. We find her on hard wooden floor, or the carpet. We thought of putting cheap mattresses all over but then we thought she will never learn to sleep in her bed that way. Do you have any trick so as to teach her the boundaries of the bed or to make her stay in the bed while sleeping?

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