Could A Floor Bed Be The Answer To Your Toddler’s Bedtime Battles?

Could A Floor Bed Be The Answer To Your Toddler’s Bedtime Battles?

When it comes to sleep, lots of babies and toddlers are just not that into it. And cots don’t always help matters. After all, what child wants to be transferred from the heat of their parent’s embrace to a much cooler fortress – one they can’t escape from?

For parents who breastfeed to sleep or whose children like to lay next to them while they drift off, cots are also not ideal because at some point you have to make the dreaded “transfer”. Cue lots of parents finding their perfectly peaceful children end up waking up as soon as their head hits the cold mattress. 

But with a floor bed – which is basically a mattress sitting on a legless bed frame – parents can lay next to their child and either feed them or simply be with them until they drift off.

Lydia Stephens, 26, based in south Wales, transferred her son, now 18 months old, to a floor bed when he was 13 months old and says “it changed our life”.

Prior to that she’d been breastfeeding him to sleep, but when it came to trying to put him down in his cot, he would wake up. Cue a lot of faffing to get him back down again.

The same thing would happen throughout the night if he woke up, she says, and it became a constant battle to get him back in his cot.

But when they bought a floor bed – the Ikea Kura bed, purchased via Facebook Marketplace – she realised she could easily get in bed with him and feed him there, without having to move him afterwards. 

About a month later she decided to stop breastfeeding, but she’d still cuddle her son to sleep or lay with him to help settle him if he woke in the night.

“He started sleeping much longer through the night and now when he wakes he often just gets out of bed and runs to our room instead,” says the journalist.

“He loves his bed and knows when it’s bedtime to get in and choose a book. I really think it’s helped him have a better sleep.”

Emily Whalley, a holistic infant sleep coach at Fox & The Moon Sleep, is a firm believer that floor beds are great for children who are not sleeping well.

“If your baby is sleeping great in a cot then I am not saying you should move them to a floor bed,” she says.

“But if you are struggling with your baby sleeping in a cot, or perhaps they always used to sleep well but now seem to get upset when transferred, then a floor bed can be a really good way of helping them sleep a little better.”

It can help reduce the risk of them waking up while transferring them to a cot and can also enable you to co-sleep if your baby or toddler is more settled when they’re close to you, or if they’ve been ill. Although, make sure to check out Lullaby Trust’s guidance on doing this safely. 

The sleep expert used a floor bed for her now three-year-old when he was 18 months old and had started to climb out of the cot. “I always liked the idea of them and liked that if he was unwell I could sleep with him and he would feel safe and secure in his own room,” she adds.

Floor beds can be purchased from the likes of Dunelm, Cuckooland, Argos and Wayfair.

There are of course considerations that need to be made before investing in one – and perhaps the biggest of all is how you’ll make your child’s room safe.

The sleep expert says it’s “tricky”. But it can be done. “When getting a floor bed, furniture needs to be secured to the wall, blind cords need to be well away from reach and electrical sockets covered too,” says Whalley.

You’ll also need to ensure any creams/medicines are stored away – ideally out of the room – and that any small choking hazards are removed. It’s also key that there’s a stair gate in place on your landing (if you have stairs), as your child will likely get out of bed and want to come and find you in the morning. 

While babies of six months and under need to be sleeping in the same room as their parents day and night to reduce the risk of SIDS, if you’re leaving older babies you might want to consider popping a soft surface next to the floor bed so they have something to roll onto if they roll out of bed.

“Or consider a memory foam bumper under a fitted sheet so that they cannot roll out of bed,” she adds.

It’s also important to ensure the bed is away from the wall – if there are no sides to it – so there is no chance of a baby or toddler rolling between the bed and the wall and getting stuck, she adds.

Some parents, like Bryony Lewis, 38, from Fareham, choose floor beds as a safer middle ground when transferring from a cot to a proper children’s bed.

She bought a floor bed for her eldest child when he was 18 months old and was transitioning into his own room, as she was pregnant with her second child at the time. 

“I was worried about him falling out of bed and hurting himself so we decided that a floor bed was the best option and laid an old cot mattress next to the bed while he got used to it,” says the founder of T & Belle. “This was also really handy (and comfy) for us to lie on whilst putting him to bed.”

While it’s a great way to give kids a bit more independence, it might be hard for some parents to wrap their heads around the fact their child will have so much freedom overnight. After all, do they not get tempted to climb out of bed after hours and start playing with toys or reading books?

“Not really,” says Whalley, “and I guess this question would be something parents would worry about if they let their child settle themselves to sleep and they are not in the room.”

With older children, she recommends having a goodnight ritual where they cover their toys with a blanket and ‘put them to bed’ – so they are less likely to get up and play.

“But if you are worried about this, waiting with your child until they fall asleep, or snuggling up with them, would mean they understand it is bedtime,” she adds.

“I haven’t ever known a child wake up in the night to play because they know they can.”

Related...

Back to blog