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Montessori Floor Bed & Sleep Question

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Sorry, I didn't know if this would be more appropriate in the sleep thread, but I'm looking specifically for Montessori advice, so I figured there'd be a higher number of you out there to answer over here.

My son is 8.5 months old. I'm just learning about Montessori right now, and I have to say, a lot of what I've read sounds like stuff that I've been thinking on my own, but didn't know there was a name to it. I'm very interested in getting more and more into this especially as he starts school.

Anyway....I'm wanting him to learn to regulate his sleep so that he'll crawl up on his bed and go to sleep when he's tired. We have a floor bed. I wonder if it'll even be possible now though to make the transition, and what the best way to go about that might be. So, you know what my goal is....let me tell you where we're coming from, so maybe you can help me get there....

We've coslept since day 1 and loved it! When he started crawling, we put our mattress down on the floor so he wouldn't try to crawl off. Then we read about floor beds and put his floor bed right by our mattress. He can get on and off both mattresses just fine without any help. I'm hoping to get him used to sleeping on it then eventually we'll move him to his own room (no set time frame, I'm not in a particular hurry). So that's the physical set up of our room. He'll sleep in his floor bed for 3 or 4 hours, then when he wakes up to eat I'll bring him in bed with us for the rest of the night. (I don't have a problem nursing several times a night. I'm wanting to do it as much as he asks for to delay my fertility returning.)

When he acts tired, I'll crawl to the room and have him follow me. I'm hoping this will teach him that the bedroom is where we go to sleep. The hard part is when we get there....I have a hard time getting him to actually sleep.....(so he probably thinks the bedroom is the place we go to eat and play instead...!)

......I've always nursed him to sleep. I've never worried much about it, but it seems like Montessori discourages it along with pacifiers and swaddling. Pacis I'm doing without just fine. Swaddling is a little tougher. He loves to practice his mobility when he's tired. Then he won't sleep. Then he gets over-tired and is even more difficult to put down by our usual routine. I can nurse him to sleep and not swaddle him, or sometimes I can swaddle him and not nurse him....but I have no idea how to do without both.

Actually, even right now, it's getting harder to nurse him down. He'll get full before he falls asleep, then he'll get up and start playing and crawl away. So our bedtime routine is a messy, haphazard concoction of nursing, playing, waiting, whining, being tired, then finally crying it out in daddy's arms until he falls asleep from exhaustion....2 hours later than bedtime. Naps have been in chaos since I don't have an organized way of getting him down.

I hate it.

I know part of it is just the mobility phase, and that if he were in a crib he would just stand up holding the bars and cry there for a long time.

I just am not really sure where to go from here. I don't want to try to force him to sleep because I want him to learn to self regulate. But I wonder if I'm too late since I haven't done it Montessori style since birth? How can I transition him to not need nursing and swaddling and to fall asleep (in the right place) when he's tired? I have a few ideas in my mind, and I don't know which route if any would be the best way to go.....

1. Work on one aspect at at time until he's mastered it then move onto the next. Focus on getting him sleeping in his floorbed, then on crawling there when he's tired, then on not nursing, then on not swaddling, then on falling alseep by himself.

2. Do it the way I'd like the end result, until he gets the idea. He'll follow me to the bedroom when he acts tired, I'll feed him while still awake, don't swaddle, and lay him down in bed. He'll probably crawl out and play, and I'll do it several times before he gets tired enough to fall asleep. Don't make him cry about it. My concern with this approach is that he won't learn that the bed is for sleeping if he plays on it a ton.

3. Similar to 2 but don't let him leave the bed or the room. This would likely involve crying. I worry about this option that it'll make him not like bedtime or sleeping or something though. I tend to worry about less gentle approaches, although if a little crying helps him to figure it out without giving him a negative association, I think I'd do it.

So....I just wanted to get some advice from you if you have experience with it. We're in an awkward transition right now and I'm not sure the best way to handle it.

Thanks in advance!!!
post #2 of 8
I think it's a tough age to expect him to do all of that himself. I'd work on one thing at a time -- whatever he seems ready to do. But some kids do seem to have a hard time recognizing that they're tired, especially that young -- the world is so exciting! My DD was like that. She was really, really helped by having a solid nighttime routine that helped her calm down and transition from the day.
post #3 of 8
Maria Montessori wasn't against nursing to sleep if that's what the infant seemed to need. We did learn in my 0-3 training, though, that if falling asleep independently was a goal (of course, it is for everyone eventually), that you can try to nurse until drowsy, then unlatch and put baby down in the bed still slightly awake, so he learns to soothe himself and fall asleep w/o a boob in his mouth. Personally, nursing has always been the easiest way to put my babies to sleep, and they do outgrow it eventually, but you could try this method, either laying on his floor bed w/him, or transferring him when he was super sleepy.

I would see about skipping the late afternoon nap, and/or pushing back bedtime. It seems like he's not quite ready, if the falling to sleep process takes two hours.

Yes, there are some LO's who eventually crawl to their place of sleep when they are tired (I witnessed this when I worked in a Nido), but it's not somethig that has to be implemented from birth, and not all babies will do this. Some need help getting to sleep, an that's okay, and is within the Montessori philosophy, IMO, especially if CIO is the alternative (babies left to cry, even in a safe place, is certainly not Montessori b/c you aren't meeting their needs, yk?).

Do whatever works for your family, and know that the sleeping aspect won't impact future Montessori experiences, even if you send him to a program as a toddler. The sleep thing there will work out a bit differently, as you wouldn't be there to nurse to sleep. We had some toddlers that would drink a glass of milk and then walk to their futon to rest, and others that wanted to be held for a bit or have their back rubbed to help fall asleep. I worked in a AMI school, which was pretty darn authentic, if you ask me, and yet the most important aspect was respecting and following the child's lead, as this was what would promote independence later on.
post #4 of 8

OY!  I'm just learning about this all too. My LO is 11 months old. She has no trouble going to sleep on her own in the crib but I do nurse before bedtime.  I put the mattress on the floor in the corner. I laid down with her and nursed her and it took her about 20 mins to wear herself out and go to sleep. She sort of tried falling asleep on all fours with her head on my stomach.  Lol.  She still wakes up b/c 10-11pm for a dream feed. She pretty much freaked out when she woke up at 10.  I was there immediately but had a tough time soothing her in order to nurse.  I ended up in rocking chair until she calmed down enough to nurse which she did. Then I laid her back into bed and laid with her.  After 15 mins she popped up like it was 7am and proceeded to crawl around and play.  She went to the door and shook the baby gate. When I called her she did come to me but then decided to use me as a jungle gym. She didn't wear herself out until almost 1am.  Then she slept until 7am.  I'm so exhausted. I don't know if I can do this another night. When it came time for nap time today, she fought it. I tried to do everything I did last night. I gave up, put the mattress back in the crib and put her in. She went right to sleep.  Anyone have any advice??

post #5 of 8

Our son started a Montessori daycare/school when he was 10 months old. I had ALWAYS nursed him to sleep before that. Within a week of being at the school, he was able to put himself to sleep with no fussing- but ONLY at school!! He still demands nursing with me, and at 17 m, I think that is entirely appropriate. He now asks for "night night nurse" when he is really tired (this is new- dang, the vocab comes fast at this age!!). I was shocked to hear how easily he goes down at school. I keep asking the teacher to video tape it (I think she thinks I'm joking- I'm not).

post #6 of 8


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by noogamama View Post

OY!  I'm just learning about this all too. My LO is 11 months old. She has no trouble going to sleep on her own in the crib but I do nurse before bedtime.  I put the mattress on the floor in the corner. I laid down with her and nursed her and it took her about 20 mins to wear herself out and go to sleep. She sort of tried falling asleep on all fours with her head on my stomach.  Lol.  She still wakes up b/c 10-11pm for a dream feed. She pretty much freaked out when she woke up at 10.  I was there immediately but had a tough time soothing her in order to nurse.  I ended up in rocking chair until she calmed down enough to nurse which she did. Then I laid her back into bed and laid with her.  After 15 mins she popped up like it was 7am and proceeded to crawl around and play.  She went to the door and shook the baby gate. When I called her she did come to me but then decided to use me as a jungle gym. She didn't wear herself out until almost 1am.  Then she slept until 7am.  I'm so exhausted. I don't know if I can do this another night. When it came time for nap time today, she fought it. I tried to do everything I did last night. I gave up, put the mattress back in the crib and put her in. She went right to sleep.  Anyone have any advice??



If it's not broken...

 

DS used to HATE his crib. When I finally gave him freedom in his room (at 13 months) he was so glad not to be trapped that he actually stayed in his bed and went to sleep for once. In your case though, feel free to give it a fair shot if you want, but I wouldn't feel obligated to change my ways just because they fit in with a certain method. If he's happy and sleeping well in his crib, I'd just assume leave well enough alone.

post #7 of 8

I need help with this same topic. My daughter has been on her floor bed since she was 3 months old. She is now 8 months old and mobile. She recently discoved she can get off her bed and since then sleep has been a nightmare.

 

She is obviously exhausted but doesn't stop crawling around and playing. Before she started crawling we had a relaxing bedtime routine and she would put herself to sleep. Now she gets herself so tired she can't fall asleep. It takes over an hour of her either playing or crying when I won't let her play. It is exhausting and I'm ready to give up on the floor bed.

 

It may be that I'm deviating from Montessori because I am not following the child, but I really believe in the importance of sleep and I can see that she is overtired. She just isn't the type of kid right now that will put herself to sleep when she is tired. We tried doing that for naps and she never slept and was miserable.

 

Any advice? Is this a stage or is this just her?

Thanks!

post #8 of 8

I hope someone can offer some good advice.  Infants often go through a change in sleep patterns even if they are co-sleeping or using a crib, so it is possible that it's a stage. It can be due to growth patterns, teething, changes in daytime routines, or just one of those mysterious developmental changes. You may want to check out the "Life with a Babe" and "The Family Bed and Nighttime Parenting" fora as well.

 

Actually, I've never been to the "Family Bed" forum, but I hope it entertains discussions about infant sleeping aside from co-sleeping issues. I'm sorry, it may be an inappropriate place for your concerns, so please read through a few threads first, to get the lay of the land. 

 

I don't think you have to be a slave to any ideology, including Montessori, if it isn't working for you and your child. If she was in a crib, do you think she would sleep better and the wakefulness wouldn't be an issue? If so, then my one suggestion is to try to put up a temporary barrier to prevent her from leaving the bed, in order to reinforce the idea that it's time for sleep. And I'm sorry, I don't have a good suggestion on what to use for that temporary barrier, but maybe someone more creative has an idea. 

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