True Confession: My kids never slept in a crib

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There is a part of my parenting that, until recently, I felt terrible about: my children never slept in cribs. I’m sure some of you, possibly most of you, are horrified by this. I honestly don’t even know how it happened. They are great sleepers now, and my younger son has generally been a great sleeper since he was brand new, but cribs just…never happened somehow. Let me explain.

With both my sons, I nursed exclusively and never pumped. This was partly due to laziness; I hated pumping with a passion, and since I was in graduate school and primarily at home, I didn’t see the reason to suffer though it. A side effect of this was that I was always on-call as the food source, 24/7. My pump-hatred unfortunately meant my husband could never feed our infants. My first son was a difficult, colicky baby who wanted to nurse constantly. It wasn’t long before I gave up on the bassinet in my room and co-slept to make the nighttime feedings easier and allow everyone some sleep. When he reached 10 months or so, co-sleeping was no longer working out. He was moving more, and I was waking up constantly when he would re-settle himself. We tried the crib. And tried. And tried. I tried every trick I’d read about: letting him self-settle (which happened exactly zero times and gave me endless hours of anxiety), patting him to sleep, cry-it-out extinction method, white noise…you name it, I probably tried it. I was desperate for sleep. Finally, we figured out what worked for us: a floor bed.

We packed up the hated crib, and set up a full-sized mattress on the floor. My now one year old was a mobile, curious toddler. We childproofed his bedroom, anchored his furniture to the walls, placed toys and books at baby-level in bins, and gated his doorway. We read stories together in his “floor bed”, snuggled, and…he slept! It was like magic.

When baby #2 arrived, we hesitated to set up the crib. Why bother? It had barely been used with our first son! Our second child was a much easier baby. He slept in 4-5 hour spurts right after birth with no coaxing from me. He happily snoozed in a bassinet in our room until he finally got too big and strong and needed to move out. Enter the crib…met with the same disdain it was with our first son. To make a long story short, we again found ourselves co-sleeping until around age one, then setting up another floor bed.

The funny part about our failure to have happy babies sleeping in cribs is the guilt and shame it caused me. Everyone else’s babies slept in their cribs until at least age 2, and some even seemed sad to graduate to toddler beds! I still have no idea where I went wrong, or even if I went wrong. Apparently, this has become somewhat of a trend, with Montessori-inspired “floor-bed” popping up all over early education blogs and Pinterest pages.

So here I am, sharing my story years later in case you find yourself in a similar place, with a happy, sleeping, free-range baby or toddler who refuses to be contained. Do what works for your family, putting your baby’s safety first of course, and let go of the guilt!

9 comments on “True Confession: My kids never slept in a crib”

  1. Hello – We have never used a crib either – until a few nights ago to try the cry-it-out method and we’ve suffered as a result. We have a bed very low to the ground for our son but our issue has been his frequent wakings (since he was born – never slept all night long still after one year…) and we need to sleep train our son. But, without a crib, he gets up or sits up or opens the door to look for us. Any advice when it comes to trying to train him to sleep through night without use of crib?

  2. Definitely, whatever works, for all of you. I’m pretty sure I had a cot when I was little but as soon as I graduated to a bed, I would pull my pillow and covers down and sleep under my bed, maybe there’s something very secure about floor sleeping that I (didn’t realise till I was typing this!) I recreated when I bought a futon for my post – divorce flat!

    1. Wow! That’s really interesting! I’d never made that connection either, but I think you are probably correct about that.

  3. Great article Sarah!!! My kids never slept in cribs either. I’m so glad that the one we bought converted to a full size bed otherwise it would have been a complete waste of money, LOL!

    1. Haha! Yes! I gave our crib to a friend when Josh was 2, realizing I’d never actually had a kid sleep in it for more than 2 hours, lol!! 🙂

    1. Happy we aren’t alone! I literally was paranoid I’d failed the “mom test”, or something. They slept…just not like most babies, haha.

    1. ME TOO, lol. I was so happy to have happy, sleeping kids, that I totally didn’t mind the crib being unused 😉

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