There hasn’t been any knitting since I finished the second pair of Maddypants, but I figure that doesn’t mean I can’t blog! So, how about a baby-related post? Y’all remember this post about our nursery? Well, as is bound to happen when babies are involved, we’ve made some changes that seem to work better for all of us since I made that post, so I thought I might write about them. I always found the “this is what works for us” posts really helpful when reading about nurseries and cloth diapers and whatnot before M was born, so why not add one to the bunch?
Here’s our nursery now:
The big difference? No more crib.
Maddy wasn’t sleeping in it. We planned on our little munchkin spending the first few months in the co-sleeper next to our bed, anyway, so we anticipated that she wouldn’t sleep in it right away. But it turned out even the co-sleeper wasn’t close enough to mama (for a variety of reasons – I couldn’t even lift her out of it given my injuries after her birth so it was easier to just nurse her in bed next to me and not bother putting her back. Plus, starting in week 3, she’d only sleep touching me, anyway), and so now we’re full-on bedsharers. We didn’t plan it that way, but it’s just what works for us. But it doesn’t QUITE work for us.
Well, here’s the thing: when your wee baby will only sleep next you, but also goes to bed around 7pm, guess what that means? That means mama goes to bed at 7pm, too. And believe me, I’m exhausted enough most days that I probably ought to go to bed that early, but what I realized is that I was getting depressed by being shut off in the darkened bedroom within about an hour of when my husband got home from work. And going to bed earlier than I was ready to sleep was setting me up for a nighttime of insomnia. So even when Maddy slept well, I basically didn’t sleep at all for awhile. It wasn’t pretty.
Enter: the crib mattress on the floor.
In brainstorming some possible solutions, I remembered reading about the Montessori philosophy regarding baby rooms. The general idea is to have a room centered around the needs and abilities of the child, and one of the things that characterizes such a nursery is having the bed on the floor. This allows the child, once they’re ready, to get in and out of bed themselves. There are many aspects of this philosophy that I like (and in fact, if we can swing it, financially, I’d love for M to go to Montessori school), but there are other reasons to prefer a crib mattress on the floor to an actual crib. Such as:
1. Now I can lay next to M and nurse her to sleep before rolling off the mattress and leaving her there for her first block of sleep of the night. Once she wakes up wanting to nurse, I just bring her into bed and we go back to being bed-sharers. Down the road we may end up transitioning to her staying on the crib mattress the whole night and me getting up and nursing her there when necessary, if it turns out that one or both of us sleeps better that way. We’re still figuring it out. (Please don’t give me crap about nursing her to sleep. It’s what works for us. I know about the “sleep associations” stuff, but I’m not interested in hard-core “sleep training”, for a variety of reasons. So just…don’t. Thank you.) But in any case, no WAY could I lay with her at all if she were in a crib! (Of course, this would all be even nicer if we could fit a regular twin-sized mattress on the floor, but for one thing, there’s not room in the closet-turned-nursery for one, and for two, we lost the twin-sized bed we were saving when our basement flooded last summer).
2. This is very specific to my own situation, but if you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you know I have some back/joint problems. I’m quite frankly shocked that I can still wear Maddy as much as I do (she’s pushing 20 pounds at this point, my little giant!), but it honestly doesn’t hurt my back (it helps that I have crazy-strong core muscles). But what DOES hurt my back is trying to bend over something like a crib railing while carrying her weight. I just can’t do it. My back seizes up and I just can’t. The crib mattress on the floor lets me squat/kneel with her (which I can do) if I’m putting her down. They always say, “bend with your legs, not your back!” but crib railing makes bending with your legs impossible!
3. It makes a great changing-station spot. You’ll also note in the above picture that there’s no more changing pad on the dresser. Once baby gets wiggly (and our dear Maddy got wiggly really early on), you DO NOT want to be doing diaper changes up high. Or at least, I did not. The mattress on the floor gives me a convenient, soft place to lay down a wipe-clean change mat and changer her diaper. She can’t really get hurt if she rolls off. We’ve got a soft (but not overly “fluffy”) rug (which we picked because it brought the bright greens that used to be in the crib back into the room) next to her mattress, and it’s a very shallow drop, so I’m not worried about her safety.
On the diaper-front, stay tuned – I’m also working on a “what has worked (or not) for us” post regarding cloth diapering!
Now that the dresser is free, we’re using it for Maddy’s books:
The Very Busy Spider has become our “nighttime ritual” book for now. Maddy loves to “help” us turn the pages – it’s so adorable. We also keep her sound machine (thank goodness for white noise!) there. A tip for anyone embarking on the baby thing: in terms of white-noise, don’t even bother with the Sleep Sheep (which we do have, it was a gift from her great-grandparents, and it IS cute), for two reasons: it’s WAY too quiet, and it’s got a timed shut-off. Guess what happens when the (too quiet) white noise shuts off? Baby wakes up! Why on earth the makers of the Sleep Sheep think the timer is a good idea is beyond me. Perhaps none of them have babies. Anyway, you want your white noise LOUD and CONTINUOUS. I use a white noise app on my iPhone when she’s in bed with us, but didn’t want to leave my phone with her for that first sleep of the night, so we got one of these, which we like, though we don’t really use the “projector” feature at all.
Another lifesaver in the nursery: blackout shades!
The curtains I made for our windows back when we first moved in just don’t keep light out very well at all. So we ordered some blackout roller shades to hang behind our regular curtains. This works great – the roller shades are kind of ugly but you never actually see them, anyway!
So that’s our nursery. She still only sleeps in it a fraction of the time, but it works for us, and that’s all that really matters.