Tag Archives: Baby Carrier

Oh, You Haven’t Got Your Crib Yet

By Carrie

“Actually we’re not going to use a crib.  We’re just going to use the mattress on the floor.”

Oh the looks I received.  Oh the comments.  Probably the most common was that A. wasn’t going to sleep once she started crawling.  Or that she was going to fall off.  Like many parts of our Montessori training, I had no idea what reality would look like with my daughter but thought I’d give it a try.

For the first few months I had a cestina loaned to me by Montessori Mom Yvonne who had made it for her daughters.  I also had a Moses basket that I used with a topponcino.  While A. slept peacefully during the day in her Moses basket, night time was a completely different story.  She slept in our arms while we slept in the nursing chair.  She never did sleep in the cestina but greatly enjoyed playing in it  and just observing her world during the day.

moses basket with topponcino cestina

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One night my body had enough of sleeping on the chair so I set up a fold-out mattress beside A.’s crib-sized mattress.  It was firm and happened to be exactly the same height.  A. then either slept on me or beside me, laying on her side.  Mostly cuddled in the crook of my arm.  It was a slow transition from beside me, to on her own bed.  Her startle reflex was still quite strong and she woke up if she was on her back but kept sleeping if she was sleeping on her side and “startled” into me. 

Around 3.5 Months we made a few changes as she was crying for 2-3 hours every night before falling asleep.  It was exhausting for both of us.  We introduced the soother, started a solid half-hour bedtime routine, made a firm bedtime, and introduced probiotics.  I think everything helped her but I believe the most dramatic change was introducing her to probiotics.  Within 3 nights of introducing them, it was like I had a different baby.  She didn’t cry every single time she fell asleep for naps and she didn’t cry for hours at bedtime.  She either didn’t cry at all or the crying was very minimal.  During the day for naps she mostly slept in a baby carrier (ring sling, Moby wrap, or Beco carrier).  photo (1)  DSC_0044_crop

floor bed sleeping

Peacefully sleeping. She was rolling over by this time so I felt comfortable putting her on her stomach to sleep.

Up until this time I had been sleeping with her all night long.  Around 4 months she started falling asleep peacefully and I changed to just laying with her until she fell asleep.  As she was already in her own bed, I didn’t have to do the “put the baby down” dance.  Eventually I just took away the mattress that I slept on.  I would lay on the floor until she fell asleep.  For a long time she struggled with “the 45 minute intruder” so my husband or I would go lay with her until she fell asleep again.  During the night she would wake once or twice for a feed and then go back to sleep.  If she was crying in the middle of the night (not for hunger) we would lay on the floor next to her until she fell asleep again.

Within a month she learned to “slither” off her bed in the morning and was able to roll to get to her toys.  She never rolled off her bed either at night time or during daytime naps.  Around 6 months she started army crawling.  Mornings would start with her army crawling off her bed to her toy shelf and she would begin playing her maraca and opening the drawer.  She would do so after naps too. floor bed

What about daytime naps with the crawler?  Did she actually sleep??  She would army crawl around her room and fall asleep on the floor when she got tired.  Sometimes she would use the firm nursing pillow as a pillow.  Often I would check the video monitor and when she fell asleep I would transfer her to her bed as I found she took longer naps on her bed and I also thought it would help her learn that her bed was for sleeping, not the random spot on the floor.  It took a couple of months but she eventually started crawling back onto her bed for naps.  There was a transition of sometimes using the bed as her pillow while sleeping on the floor.  At evening bedtime she would always stay on her bed.

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Soon after she began crawling on all fours (8.5 months) she stopped crawling around her room.  She preferred to sit on her bed after her nap or in the morning.  She would play with her blanket, her soother, or her one book beside her bed.  She would do so happily for at least half an hour (I usually went to get her by then).  It has only been quite recently, around when she turned 12 months and has begun the process of dropping her second nap, that she has started crawling around her room again.  Instead of sleeping she happily plays in her room.  She has started to play with her toys when she wakes up in the mornings again too.

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Sleep hasn’t been an easy part of my motherhood journey.  Those first few months were very difficult.  I feel the floor bed really helped to make a gentle transition for A. sleeping with me to sleeping independently.  Since she was a month old, she has slept on her own bed at night, so strongly associates sleep with her bed.  Throughout her first year it hasn’t always been independently.  We have snuggled her all night long, as she fell asleep, and in the middle of the night when she needed.  We have also given her some time to cry a little as she learned to settle herself to sleep.  She is now able to independently fall asleep for naps and at bedtime.  Very occasionally she still wants some snuggles in the middle of the night, but for the majority of the time she sleeps independently throughout the night.  After a year of using the floor bed it seems so normal to me that I do a second glance when I see a crib.  I have to remind myself that yes, some babies still sleep in cribs.  If you haven’t checked it out already, Aid to Life has a great explanation, photos, and video of the floor bed.   1 year old, sleeping on her floor bed

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Filed under 0-3 Months, 3-6 Months, 6-12 Months, Bedroom, Carrie

Outdoor Nature Experiences for Your Baby

By Carrie and Rubi

I love having wonderful AtoI friends where we swap ideas to aid the development of our children.  The other day Rubi was telling me about her daughter spending time outdoors exploring moss and then says, “I need outdoor activities.”  What?!  You’ve just been telling me about this fabulous sensorial, nature experience your daughter has been having and you need more ideas?  So I took a moment to reflect on her question as I hadn’t really given this topic too much thought for my own daughter other than going outside daily.  She’s not capable enough to get to many places independently or do the myriad of outdoor practical life activities that an older child might be doing.  Rubi’s question made me wonder how we could provide more opportunities for our babies to experience nature outdoors.  Here’s what Rubi and I came up with.

Daily walks

When A. was younger she went for walks in her bassinet style stroller so she could fully stretch out her body.  A car seat places a child in a propped up position and straps the child in.  In her bassinet stroller , she could stretch her arms above her head and kick her legs around.  She could turn her head to look where she wanted, including looking at me as her point of reference, but mostly she slept.  She also greatly loved being cuddled up close to our bodies, so for many months she went for a walk being carried in the Beco.  Now that she is older she enjoys being awake for most walks and sits up in her stroller to take in all the sights.  We mostly go for walks in our neighbourhood so she can enjoy many flowers but we also go to the woodland park near our house.  I think this bit of daily fresh air is good for all of us as a family.

     

Laying outside

While we don’t always go outside everyday, we definitely do so multiple times a week.  When A. was younger I would place her outdoors in the cestina or on her topponcino in the Moses basket.  By the time she was two months, I mostly placed her on a blanket and she would listen to the birds or listen to me read her stories.  She would also enjoy tummy time outside.  We mostly did this in our backyard.  Rubi did the same with F., often bringing a basket with a few toys outdoors.  Rubi has also provided F. with a wind chime to listen to.  Rubi reminded me that blowing some bubbles for a baby to observe is also a lot of fun.  Having a sprinkler for the baby to experience water would be fun too.  During the summer I would often go for picnics and I would try to place A. in the shade of a tree so that she could watch the movement of the branches and leaves in the wind.  She was also able to observe the clouds, flowers, and whatever is around.  I was thinking that going somewhere with a river or stream would be a lovely experience.  Enjoying food outside (nursing or solid foods) is also a different experience for a baby.

  

Exploring with items from Nature

Rubi provides items from nature for her daughter to play with when outdoors.  Her daughter explores with various items such as grass, sticks, and moss.  F. is developing her pincer grip by picking up small pieces of moss.  I am enthralled with the sensorial experiences F. is receiving as she touches the various textures and, of course as babies do, puts the items in her mouth.  Rubi has also provided a bucket of rocks for F. to place rocks in and out of.

Many mornings A. and I will go for a quick “garden tour” before her morning nap to check out the plants that are growing.  It has been great fun with a vegetable garden as I talk to her about the various plants we have growing and allow her to feel them.  She has had the opportunity to feel smooth pea pods, prickly squash leaves, and bumpy broccoli.  Since my conversation with Rubi, I have been encouraged to let A. have time on the grass.  Often this occurs prior to dinner.  She has greatly been enjoying the opportunity to sit on the grass, pick grass, and experience it by eating it. Outside of the daily experience in the backyard, I think it is great to expose your baby to sandy beaches, swimming in a warm lake, and whatever other natural places happen to be in the area that you live.  As long as your baby is able to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch items of nature!

 

Playground

For an older baby, it is fun to go to the playground.  If you can find a playground built for toddlers this is even better.  Once your baby is able to sit independently, then he/she is ready to enjoy going on the swings.  Carefully observe your baby for signs of enjoyment and distress as sometimes this experience is not enjoyed by babies, or the enjoyment can quickly change into distress.  F. has a lot of fun on the swings and at the playground.  She crawls around on the equipment and on the wood chips, greatly enjoying exploring the wood chips.  She is now pulling up, cruising along, and trying to climb up on much of the equipment.  She also enjoys going down the slide.  While it may seem obvious to go to the playground, often F. is the only baby at the playground!  Rubi commented that it is because other parents don’t want to bring their child who is not yet walking because the child will get all dirty.  Appropriate clothing meant for play is important for children of all ages, including babies.

 

Experiencing Weather

Most of us tend to be fair weather lovers.  Instead, most of us live in places where it gets cold, hot, rainy, snowy, sunny, and windy.  I believe that there is no bad weather, only bad clothing choices.  Both A. and F. were born in the winter.  We bundled up our babies and took them outside.  During the summer A. was too young to wear sunscreen so we sought out shade and covered her up when spending extended periods of time in the sun.  One particular rainy day, F. went outside and played in the rain and puddles.  What a delightful experience!

We hope you have fun outdoors with your baby, cultivating a love of nature right from birth!  Do you have more ideas to share with us?

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Filed under 0-3 Months, 3-6 Months, 6-12 Months, Ages, Carrie, Nature/Outdoors, Rubi