Ending up with a crib that’s too low can be a serious pain for new parents. Money can be tight, so buying a new crib may be out of the question. However, using the crib as-is can be painful for many new mothers, especially if they’ve undergone surgery.
Below you’ll find a list of seven ideas that can help you deal with having a crib that is too low for comfort or convenience. These ideas can help you get around the problem of a low crib either by adjusting the way you interact with it, going with a different sleeping arrangement, or changing the crib itself.
Use a Step Stool
A step stool might seem like a counterintuitive solution for a crib that is too low. After all, wouldn’t raising the height of the person placing the baby in the crib make the issue of a low crib even worse? But the truth is that putting a step stool next to the crib can make it easier for you to place your baby in the crib without having to strain your arms or back.
Step stools are especially helpful for short mothers who have a crib with tall sides. This can make it difficult to put the baby down in the crib without disturbing them or stretching uncomfortably. (Source: Parent Guide)
When you’re looking for a step stool for the side of your crib, you’ll want to look for a step stool with both a wide base and a step to make sure you have the most stability possible when you’re stepping up on it to lay your child down in the crib.
Here are some of the best step stools available for new parents with low cribs:
- Vaunn Medical Footstool: This non-slip step stool comes with a rubber platform to prevent skidding, making it one of the safer models available for use with a crib. The short design on this footstool is also compact enough to be stored under the crib when not in use.
- Support Plus High Riser Step: Rather than acting as a full step stool, this high riser step gives you a few inches of lift right beside the crib so that you can step up and lower your baby into it without having to stretch or strain.
- Houchics Multi-Purpose Stool: With a two-hundred-and-sixty-pound weight capacity, you’ll never have to worry about this collapsing beneath you while you’re trying to put your baby to bed. This multi-purpose stool comes in several color options and is strong enough that you’ll feel safe stepping up on it with your child in your arms.
Get a Montessori Bed
If your crib is too low and you find it difficult to put your baby in and out of, you might consider the Montessori style of sleeping for your baby instead.
Instead of having to lay your baby in a high-sided crib, the Montessori method has you keep your baby in a Moses basket until they’re two months old, then transition them onto a mattress on the floor once they’re old enough to turn themselves over.
For the first two months, the Montessori method uses a Moses basket in place of a crib. This is a type of bassinet that is used for keeping the baby close by the mother during the first few months of life. Once they are old enough to turn over and start sitting up, the Moses basket should be replaced with a Montessori bed.
In Montessori practices, the baby is moved to a mattress a few inches off the floor rather than a crib, with soft buffers on the edges of the mattress if there is a fear that the baby might fall off the edge onto a hard floor. Here are some of the benefits of using the Montessori method instead of a low crib (Source: Daily Mom):
- Freedom of movement
- Access to the rest of the room
Get a Bedside Sleeper
If you’re having a problem leaning your child down into a low crib, another option for at least the first few months is to put your child in a bedside sleeper. This style of bassinet is designed to be supported by the frame of the adult bed and allows the parents to co-sleep with their baby while giving the baby its own safe sleeping area.
Bedside sleepers solve the issue of having to bend down into a low crib by bringing the side of the baby’s crib up to the height of the edge of the bed. This allows new mothers to quickly attend their baby for feedings in the middle of the night without having to lift their child in and out of the crib.
Cut the Legs Off the Crib
Your low high-sided crib doesn’t have to be tossed out as long as you’re willing to do a little carpentry work. Sawing off a few inches of leg off the crib lowers the entire crib. You might still have to bend down to get your baby in and out of the crib, but shorter parents won’t have to fight to get their arms up over the side of the crib to place the baby in a low bottom.
Since the crib still needs to be structurally safe after you alter it, it’s a good idea to get a professional carpenter or furniture maker to adjust the leg height of your crib rather than doing it yourself. This way you can be sure that you don’t damage the structural integrity of the crib in a way that makes it unsafe for the baby.
Use Shoe Lifts
If your crib bottom is just a little two low and you find it difficult to reach down into it over the sides, using lifted shoes with sole inserts can give you the few inches you need to reach into a low crib comfortably without having to throw your back out of whack. This tip won’t work for all cribs or if your crib bottom is especially low, but it’s perfect if you don’t need much extra height.
Check the Height Adjustments on the Crib
Before you decide to toss your crib for being too low, be sure to read the owner’s manual that came with the crib and check it over carefully. Many modern cribs actually come with built-in height adjustments and this is often overlooked during the crib’s assembly. The built-in height adjustments on the crib may allow you to disassemble the crib and readjust it.
Height adjustment of the crib to lower the crib mattress is something that should be done on almost all cribs as the baby gets older so that they don’t become able to pull themselves out of the crib and injure themselves. (Source: Project Father)
Not all cribs are adjustable, but more are than most new parents realize. In the fluster of trying to prepare for a new baby, many new parents don’t even realize that height adjustment on their crib is an option.
Bend Over the Crib
When all else fails, you might be forced to give in and bend over a crib that is too low. It’s not the most ergonomic option, but for those new parents who don’t have the budget to buy a new bassinet or step stool, bending over is the only choice left.
Here are a few options for bending over to make it a little easier on your back and arms:
- Do some yoga or stretching. Actively reinforcing your flexibility can make the bending necessary to lower a baby into a crib less taxing on your body. Here are a few yoga poses that can help you increase your flexibility.
- Get used to putting the baby down awake. Some new parents obsess over making sure that their baby is asleep when they’re put down in the crib, but many babies will learn to put themselves to sleep if they’re put down in the crib while they’re still awake. It’s easier to place a baby in a low crib if you don’t have to worry about waking them up.
Even though bending down can be a pain, it becomes easier with practice. Making sure to increase your physical fitness through stretches and upper body exercises can make placing a baby in a crib less exhausting and painful.
A Low Crib Isn’t the End of the World
A low crib may be more of a hassle than you realized when you first bought it, but there are several things you can do to make using a low crib easier. Whether you choose a different sleeping arrangement like a Montessori mattress, give yourself some lift, or you decide to tweak the crib itself, making a low crib less difficult to manage usually just requires some adjustments.