I basically live my life going against the grain. Conventional living has just never really worked for me. I think part of me is fueled by people telling me I can’t do something or shouldn’t. (I’m totally a rebel, but it’s not something I really brag about because I don’t view it as an admirable quality.) The other half of me is always looking into the future, what can I do now to make tomorrow, next week, or next year function smoother, reap a better harvest and just work for us!
Liam’s sleeping arrangements was one of those moments. The last year and a half, I have had more sleep than I ever would have expected with a baby/toddler, so I guess we are doing something right?! We bought our house three months before Liam was born. Which was great, because I didn’t spend nine months feeling like I NEEDED to set up a “nursery”. When we moved into our house at six months pregnant, a bedroom for a little person who was not even with us yet, was LAST on the priority list.
One day I was talking to my midwife and I said something along the lines of, “I haven’t really bought him a crib yet.” She said, “Why do you need one? The baby (remember we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl) is going to be in your bed anyway.”
Enter mind blown emoji here.
As the weeks went by and we began to settle into our new house that has a good size master bedroom, I started to really enjoy the idea of co-sleeping, and having the baby in our room/bed. I looked into bassinets, because that “seemed” like the thing to do. We actually ended up being gifted the Halo Bassinet from our baby shower, but I will get to why that one did not work out for us!
So of course everyone “couldn’t believe we didn’t register for a crib,” and of course those comments just FUELED me even more. (haha!)
Or “If you co-sleep he will still be in your bed at 5 years old”
Or “You’re going to roll onto your baby”
Or “You won’t get any sleep”
Or…. Or… Or… you get the picture.
I ended up finding this organic co-sleeper, which is very similar to a Dock a Tot. I will definitely be switching next time, he outgrew his organic co-sleeper faster than we would have outgrown a Dock a Tot.
If you have read The Birth of Liam, you know that my labor and his birth was not ideal! When we got home from the hospital, my husband had to take the bed off the bed frame so that I could get in and out of bed. (This was when we said goodbye to the Halo Bassinet that we never used) This particular bassinet HAS TO slide under your bed, and requires a bed frame. #OOPS!
After my unplanned surgical birth and then post op infection, I was unable to get in and out of bed other than going to the bathroom. So I ate in bed, slept in bed, fed Liam in bed, changed his diaper in bed and clearly was not going to be getting up to tend to a baby in another room.
This is where the co sleeper came in handy. When Liam was first born, he was small enough to sleep across my chest, but as he got bigger, he did better in the co-sleeper between my husband and I. It was amazing, when he would wake up, I would roll over and feed him and then we would both go back to sleep.
By the time Liam was six weeks old, he was already 15lbs (I am not joking) and at the time my husband was working nights, so we actually ditched the co-sleeper and Liam just laid next to me. (We still used the co-sleeper for nap time.) It really just kept getting better, by the time Liam was 8 weeks old he was sleeping through the night. If we did wake up, and he need to be nursed, I would just nurse him on my side and fall back to sleep.
As liam got older, and would go to bed before us, we would lay him in the co-sleeper on our bed, and then when we went to bed we would just crawl in next to him. However, when he started to learn to roll over, we decided it was time for something different! My mom actually had a hand me down pack n play that we borrowed for a week, and after night one I knew this was what we needed! (We still co-slept at this point, but when baby goes to sleep at 6pm and mom and dad don’t go to sleep for 4-6 more hours, they need a safe space once they can roll!)
We ended up with this pack n play, the Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib by Guava Family, the reason I was drawn to it was because it fit all of my requirements. Organic sheet, non toxic mattress, not sprayed with fire retardants, it is totally flat on the ground and has a zipper on the side, so I can lay in there with him and nurse.
As Liam got older, he would spend more and more time sleeping in his Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib, which around 6-9 months was now at the foot of our bed and not the side (it had been next to an exterior wall and I was finding he was waking up because he was cold!) He actually got to the point where he would wake up, want to be nursed and actually wanted to lay back down in his own bed vs staying in bed with my husband and I.
The eve of Liam’s first birthday, I started to put his bedroom together, I started to move all of his cloth diapers and clothes etc. I decided, let’s see what happens if I put his travel crib in here. That night, he slept through the night, didn’t need to nurse and woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed. We never went back! Do I still tell people we co-sleep? Yes, because I would have him back in our bed in a heartbeat, however Liam prefers his own space!
I think the reason we were able to make such a smooth transition, is because he went from sleeping 2-3 hours in his travel crib to 4-6 hours and then the whole night. (He usually sleeps 12-14 hours a night.)
So why a “Pack n Play” and not a “Regular” crib?
Toxins: This was the main reason I was anti-crib. All cribs have been sprayed with fire retardants, have been coated in toxic paint. Mattresses are usually sprayed with pesticides, formaldehyde and fire retardants as well. And while there are both non toxic options for cribs and mattress, I just could not fathom spending $1000s of dollars on something that would only be used for a short period of time. The Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib is non toxic, has not been sprayed with any of the above, and also has an organic sheet option, out the door, to your house in 2-3 days, it is only $250 (Plus they have a bassinet + crib option, totally using this bassinet the next time we have a baby!)
Space: The space between my bed and the wall (or later at the foot of the bed) would not have fit a large, bulky crib.
Comfort: It was very easy for me to lay in the Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib with Liam, and nurse him to sleep or back to sleep.
Portability: Pack n Play’s are made for convenience, however, I find most people have them and don’t use them! The Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib breaks down in seconds and is only 13lbs! It was very easy to take the bed Liam was a custom to sleeping in to a friends house so that we could stay out after his bedtime.
Future Focused: A reason cribs are a draw to many parents, is because they convert into a toddler bed. Last fall we purchase an Avocado Green Mattress, BTW we are LOVING IT! And so our queen mattress made its way into Liam’s room. Which is great because I can either rock him to sleep or lay in bed with him and nurse. Needless to say, he will be going straight into a queen bed when he has outgrown his Travel Crib. We will just be putting the queen bed on the floor and he will sleep in a Doc a Tot Grand.
Style: I loved how sleek, slim and minimal the Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib was! Liam’s room is white with gray accents, (yes, his room looks like it should be for an adult and not a one and a half year old.)
I hope this post has encouraged you to try something new! Know that it is okay to do something different than what your parents did, your BFF, even different than what you did with your first born! Skipping a crib is not for everyone, be sure to do your research and find out which cribs and mattresses are non toxic!