Crib-sleeping & Conflicted feelings

This is the only crib picture I have of Potamus...

This is the only crib picture I have of Potamus…

I took this picture to capture the moment I first saw my son taking a nap in a crib and the conflicting emotions that it brought up inside.

From the beginning we have practiced an attachment-style parenting philosophy with Potamus, which has meant co-sleeping in our bed the first 11 months and then making the transition to the montessori-floor bed for the past few months. Nap-times have been a combination of in our arms, in the baby carrier, in the car-seat on road-trips, his bed on the floor of his room and his mat at daycare.

I have no problem with other parents using cribs, but for some reason I get this squicky feeling in my belly when I think of putting Potamus in a crib (with exception of the side-carred crib we used for co-sleeping), to sleep independently. There’s something so sweet about seeing him sleeping in his big-boy bed, and something so gut wrenching about walking into the daycare and seeing him sleeping in a crib.

I don’t know why or where this sadness and gut feeling came about the crib issue. I almost started crying seeing him lying there with the little receiving blanket up over his head to block the light. It felt institutional and like a visual reminder that 2 days a week I ‘abandon’ my sweet baby to the care of others. And on the other hand, I marveled at how sweetly he was sleeping, how easily he naps for his teachers, and how I sometimes think that they would do a better job raising him than I do (as noted by the 3 hour crying jag this morning where he was tired but wouldn’t nap and only after a long struggle did he finally go down, right when I was at my wits end).

I wanted to tell his teachers to not let him nap in a crib, but that seems cruel when he’s tired and needs a place to nap. There’s nothing inherently evil about cribs, but it just makes me feel so sad. But he was so happy and sweet and snuggly when I woke him up to go home.

post-crib nap smiles

post-crib nap smiles

What are your thoughts? Did your kids sleep in a crib? How do you make nap or sleeping decisions?


  1. Our girl slept in a bassinet next to us for four months until her sleeping noises were keeping me awake, meaning the little sleep I was getting wasn’t restful. Then she move to the next room, both doors kept open AND monitor on to help me with the guilt of this. Then at 6 months we bought a crib. She was never a “good” co-sleeper, even though we were happy to try the idea. She would wake so many times while next to us, but if put in a quiet place alone she’d sleep significantly longer. It is almost *almost* funny to me now but I remember explaining myself to my attachment-style friends like “we WANT her to sleep with us, but she WON’T!” Now I just shrug when people get surprised she doesn’t sleep with us (here in Japan bed-sharing until school age is the norm) because we are doing what works for her, for us and for our family to be rested which is basically the key to all our happiness as you know. Do what feels right for you, with full acceptance of the fact that what ever ‘it’ is may not be right tomorrow, in a week, in a month! HUGS

  2. what an adorable picture! i love the idea of co-sleeping, but i don’t know if i would do it or not. if i was single, definitely. but it seems like a lot to expect when you’re already sharing a bed with your husband or boyfriend. i hate the idea of nurseries, though. i would rather have the bassinet right next to the bed. it seems easier, and babies do not need a room to themselves!

    anyway, just running my mouth on what i think.

  3. Maybe it will help to think of it as a Safe Sleeping Place to nap while he’s in daycare or anywhere else. And, a safe sleeping place is the BEST place to sleep, crib or no crib. And, he could just be napping “better” because he’s so worn out and stimulated by everything that he conks right out. Of course he doesn’t nap that well at home because he’s used to everything. It’s all boring and there’s not a whole lot of crazy awesome newness constantly moving around him in chaotic frenzy of other babies and people and toys and activities and things, oh my! So, yeah, don’t feel like the day care folks are better parents, they’re just really good at wearing kids out. 😉

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