Well, at least for us.
Its been quite the process for us to finally figure out something truly safe once Penelope became mobile. When she was a tiny baby, and couldn’t move, we never thought twice about leaving her in our bed alone to nap.
When she started rolling over, I made a wall of pillows on one edge of the bed. I tucked pillows along the entire side of the bed under a fitted sheet. And that worked for awhile.
Then when she first started crawling, I thought the wall of pillows would be enough of a barrier to keep her from crawling off the bed, since she always made noise when she wakes up and I come in the room before she is fully awake.
But all it takes is one time.
And one time when she was about 7 months old, she woke up and didn’t make a peep and crawled right off the damn bed and fell, oh, about 3 feet to the floor. She cried hysterically for about a minute, but she was totally fine. She crawled off the side that didn’t have pillows- I had only done one wall of pillows because when I am in bed with her, I am the “wall” to the other side. It hadn’t occurred to me that she would ever wake up without a peep and crawl way over to the other side of our king size bed and keep going.
Parenting Fail #1.
So then I thought, well I just need to do a wall on the other side, problem solved.
Then she woke up again, without a peep and crawled OVER the wall. This time hitting her head on the side of the bed on the way down, giving her a deep blue/green bruise on her cheek.
Parenting Fail #2.
After that we took the bed apart and put the mattress on the floor. At the time our house was on the market and I needed to keep the house show ready at all times, so we left the box spring underneath to make the bed look not so much like it was a mattress on the floor. So with the box spring and the mattress, the height of the bed this way, was about a foot and half. Then I lined the floor surrounding the perimeter of the mattress with pillows, so in case she crawled off she fell onto a pillow.
Then she crawled off the bed and hit the floor and managed to miss the safety pillows entirely. She screamed hysterically, because this time she fell on her back and it knocked the wind out her and scared the crap out of her.
Parenting Fail #3.
So then we took the box spring away and truly just had the mattress on the floor. If you know me, you know I like to keep a perfect house. Things must be in their place and tidy. Having a mattress on the floor, is so not my style. But I have given up in name of Safety. We also immediately started teaching her how to get on her belly and slide off the bed if she wanted to get off. I still worry she is going to take a nose dive, even though its only 6 inches off the floor, but most of the time she gets on her belly and scoots down like a pro.
But then she started being able to stand by herself and she wanted to practice her skills in the middle of the night. At 3am, she would crawl to a spot and stand, then crawl to another spot and stand. In my exhaustion, I just didn’t feel like wrestling with her to keep her in one spot, so eventually she crawled off the bed.
This time, even though, its was a very short distance to the floor, she hit her head on the night stand, that was still butted up against the mattress in my futile attempt to keep our bedroom looking like a normal bedroom, as she tumbled off the edge.
Parenting Fail #4.
Now the night stands are on the far corners of the room. And there is two feet of space in between the mattress and the night stands on each side.
If you are co-sleeping, save your self a whole lot of trouble and Parenting Fail moments and just put the mattress on the floor, with no box spring, with nothing close by, as soon as the baby starts rolling over!
P.S. There are lots of other ways to co-sleep safely, like side car-ing a crib, but this is what works for us. I am by no means an expert on safe co-sleeping, just simply sharing our experience.
For more safe co-sleeping tips check out Attachment Parenting International’s website.