Thank you for all of your replies. I am reading and thinking about what y'all are saying. This thread has been very informative for me. A week ago I had no idea that blanket-training was controversial or disapproved of, and it wouldn't have occurred to me to ask about alternatives.
However, at the risk of sounding like my 6 yr old, I don't want to do this anymore. I feel like I have explained myself over and over again and people are still misunderstanding. I'm sure this is because of my own lack of communication skills, but I don't know how to explain any better.
I have read and tried to understand all of your objections to blanket-training--it limits baby's freedom, it promotes detachment, it's punitive and conditioning, it's ineffective and impossible, it's no different than a pen, it teaches baby not to explore, it constrains baby with disapproval, it's unnatural, and it is a term used by child-torture fetishists. I understand, but respectfully disagree with these points. I have tried to explain as best I can why I disagree, but I don't think there's much benefit to further debating the issue. The only objection I do agree with is the one about limiting baby's freedom. I agree that is problematic, which is why I wanted to ask for alternatives.
If you believe that there is nothing wrong with containment devices or gates, I respect your opinion. If you believe that it is always wrong to leave a young child alone in a room for even a minute, and this is a realistic option for you, I respect your opinion and your ability to do this. However neither of these are options for me. I cannot have baby with me at every single moment, and I have many problems with containment devices which I have partially explained here and which I would be willing to more fully explain by pm.
I am sorry if I have offended anyone on this thread, and I'm sorry for anyone who has had any kind of experience with the child-torture fetishists. I understand that some of y'all might be sensitive about that in the same way that I have a strong sensitivity to symbols of captivity.
If anyone has any more questions about how or why I used blanket-training, or how or why I came to the views that I have, or anything else, please pm me and I will respond as best I can. Or if you want to tell me what "expecto-patrionis" means. If you want to continue a community discussion about the relative merits of blanket-training, please start a thread to discuss just that. But I do not want to debate the relative merits of blanket-training on this thread anymore. It isn't what I wanted and I don't think it's productive.
What I would like is some continued suggestions for leaving a baby alone for a short time without containment devices or gates. Some of the suggestions I've gotten so far that have made a lot of sense to me are:
- making the entire downstairs a harmonious open area where baby can roam free without boundaries
- singing to baby while out of the room
- keeping doors to less safe rooms closed off (I already do this)
- keeping only chewable baby toys in reach and moving all adult things higher up
- rotating toys on the blanket to keep baby entertained
- using furniture and boxes to block off an area, and
- being less paranoid about free-roaming babies
All of these are good ideas, especially being less paranoid. This thread has really changed my assumptions about what constitutes safety in a babyproofed room. I would love to hear any other of these types of suggestions that any of you may have. I don't promise I'll implement them but I will take them into consideration.
I don't know whether I'll blanket-train future babies or not. Fortunately I have a while to decide. But y'all have made me reconsider it and given me some good ideas for other options. So maybe I will use the blanket but with less emphasis on training. But if you have any other suggestions please share them, and I promise to be nice.