Do You Need A Crib? 5 Best Crib Alternatives

Best crib alternatives - the Topponcino

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support!

Share this post

You do not need a crib. In fact, cribs are associated with about 64% of infant injuries according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Most accidents occur when babies get their heads stuck in between the crib slats or when they climb out of their crib.

We were aware of these statistics and knew that we wanted to opt for safe crib alternatives when we welcomed our daughter.

We chose the Topponcino because it is designed for newborns and provides the safest and most comfortable sleeping area for our baby.

And since we are raising our daughter using the Montessori method, the Topponcino was a great choice because it is the only baby support pillow that follows the Montessori philosophy.

I recommend the Topponcino if you have a newborn or infant, but check out other crib alternatives and see which one aligns with your parenting style.

Our top picks

  1. Topponcino. Safest crib alternative for newborns.

  2. Snuggle Me Organic. Great baby lounger for infants.

  3. Bedside Bassinet. Great to have your child sleep next to you.

  4. Montessori Floor Bed. Best crib alternative to encourage independence.

  5. Portable Playard. Best portable crib alternative.

5 best crib alternatives for your child.

These crib alternatives will provide a better resting environment for our child. 

We have used some of these items but make sure to always consult with your pediatrician before using any of these products.

Image: Topponcino

1. Topponcino

The best and safest support pillow for newborns that aligns with the Montessori philosophy.

The more research we did on the Topponcino, the more we fell in love with it. This is a very simple support pillow that is gentle on your baby’s skin.

We liked how it provided a gentle transition from the coziness of the womb to the outside world. Your newborn needs to feel secure and comforted and the Topponcino does exactly that.

The Topponcino is very thin compared to other baby loungers but we liked it because we could hold and cradle our baby. This strengthened our bond and made us feel more attentive to her needs.

We co-slept with our daughter for the first 5 months and she slept on the Topponcino. I know some people are against co-sleeping but this is what worked for us.

We felt it was safer to co-sleep using the Topponcino because there were no crib slats that could pose serious injuries.

  • Montessori-inspired support pillow.
  • Provides good head, neck, and body support when you hug your baby.
  • It promotes respect for your baby’s needs.
  • It helps you bond with your newborn.
  • Meets or exceeds US safety standards (CPSC)
  • May be a bit pricey for some parents (but more affordable than the Snuggle Me).
  • If you don’t understand the Montessori philosophy, you won’t understand the benefits of this support pillow.

Image: PishPosh

2. Snuggle Me Organic

This is a great baby support pillow that provides a hugging effect so your child feels secure.

This is another support pillow we used when our baby wasn’t sleeping on the Topponcino. The Snuggle Me Organic is a bit thicker than the Topponcino but provides similar benefits.

What we liked about the Snuggle Me pillow is the raised edge. This is a good design feature because it helps curve your baby’s back and provides a hugging feeling.

The feeling of being hugged soothed our baby when she got a bit fussy. We also noticed that she slept a bit more peacefully.

The Snuggle Me also has good breathability and we didn’t have to worry about our child suffocating. Of course, we supervised her during her naps and playtime.

We also didn’t worry about her rolling over onto her stomach because the raised sides did not allow her to roll. 

As our second choice, this cocoon-like pillow will provide security and comfort for your baby.

  • It provides a hugging feeling so your baby feels safe.
  • Great for tummy time and play.
  • Can be used to co-sleep but make sure that you always supervise your baby when they sleep.
  • 100% washable.
  • A bit pricey but the standard lounger is more affordable.
  • The cover is sold separately.

Image: PishPosh

3. Bedside Bassinet

Your baby can rest in a separate and safe space right next to you in this innovative sleeping solution.

If you don’t want to co-sleep with your baby but still want to have your little one close to you, I recommend the Halo Bassinet.

This bedside bassinet is a great crib alternative because it is designed with safety in mind. 

It provides an enclosed sleeping area for your baby but does not have hazardous parts that can compromise your baby’s safety.

This bassinet has breathable mesh sides. If your baby rolls onto their side and presses their face against the sides, they can breathe comfortably. 

The mesh sides are also see-through and provide great visibility. We also liked how you can lower one of the sides to easily pick up your child.

The bassinet comes with a flat and firm surface and does not include any loose bedding. This reduces the risk of suffocation or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

  • Breathable and see-through mesh sides.
  • Can be used as a sleeper or standalone bassinet.
  • The lowering wall makes it easier to pick up your baby.
  • It can be adjusted to accommodate beds up to 30” high.
  • It has adjustable straps to attach the bassinet to your bed for extra security.
  • It has wheels that make it easy to move around your house.
  • Meets all U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission safety standards.
  •  The maximum weight limit is only 20 lbs.

Image: Newton Baby

4. Montessori Floor Bed

This is a thoughtfully designed crib alternative that aligns perfectly with the Montessori philosophy to enhance the development of your child.

This is the best crib alternative that worked for us once our baby had good body control. She transitioned to her floor bed when she was about 5 months old.

A Montessori floor bed can be a mattress and bedframe that is very close to the ground, or simply a crib mattress on the floor.

We chose to have only a crib mattress on the floor just to keep things very simple for our daughter. The best mattress we came across was the Newton Crib Mattress.

We tested the twin mattress and were impressed by how breathable and comfortable it was. And based on further research, it follows safe sleep guidelines set by AAP.

But the benefits of a Montessori floor bed are more than just a safe sleeping area. It gives your child an opportunity to explore their surroundings safely and independently.

There are no walls like a crib that could otherwise hinder your child’s natural curiosity about the world and their surroundings.

This helps enhance your child’s physical development because your baby can move around without restrictions.

  • Minimizes the risk of SIDS.
  • This mattress is 100% breathable and washable.
  • Meets safe sleep guidelines by AAP.
  • Supports your baby’s safe sleep.
  • Promotes independence and encourages exploration.
  • Supports physical development.
  • More expensive than a standard crib mattress (but worth the investment).

Image: Baby Cubby

5. Portable Playard

This is a great product that works as a safe sleeping space, a play area, and a travel companion when you are on the go.

UPPAbaby is known for high-quality baby products. The REMI Playard is one of a kind and goes above and beyond to provide a safe sleep and play area for your child. 

The most impressive thing about this playard is how easy it was to set up and collapse. You don’t need any tools to set it up, you only press down on the center of the playard to set it.

And when you are ready to pack it away, there is a button in the middle of the base that you press and it easily collapses.

It comes with a storage bag for easy storage but it is not appropriate for travel. However, you can get a travel bag in case you take it with you on the airplane.

We also liked how it gives your child freedom to explore. There is a small door on the side that you can unzip and let your child out. It also makes it easy to get your child if they need to be soothed.

The elevated design allows air to flow from under it. I think this is a huge benefit because it keeps your child cool on warm days and nights.

  • It is ideal if you are on the go.
  • It is very easy to set up and you don’t need any tools.
  • The mesh zipper gives easy access to your baby.
  • Folded dimensions are 11″ L x 10″ W x 28.5″ H.
  • The air mesh mattress is breathable and washable.
  • The mattress is a bit hard, maybe not ideal for overnight sleep.

Does Montessori use cribs?

The short answer is no because cribs go against the developmental benefits seen in a Montessori setting.

The Montessori philosophy emphasizes independence, freedom of movement, and a child-centered approach to sleep. 

If you are raising your child the Montessori way, my top recommendation is the floor bed because it allows your baby to explore their environment and encourages motor development and independence. 

A sleeping area without bars allows your baby to get in and out of bed on their own, and this fosters a sense of autonomy and self-discovery.

Do you really need a baby crib?

No, a crib is not necessary. As you can see from this article, there are better and safer crib alternatives.

As a Montessori guide, I always prioritize child development and safety over convenience. This is not to say that you should avoid cribs.

If you are looking for convenience, maybe a crib is for you. Ultimately it all depends on your parenting style and what works best for you.

What can my baby sleep in while traveling?

If you are co-sleeping, you can take the Topponcino or Snuggle Me with you. We took these baby support pillows everywhere we went. 

Both products fit in our luggage and since our baby was sleeping on them already, she barely even noticed that we were in a different home.

A travel bassinet or a pack ‘n play like the UPPAbaby are great choices too. 

These options provide a familiar sleep environment for your baby and ensure that your baby sleeps comfortably away from home.

Can a baby sleep in a Pack N Play?

Yes, a Pack ‘n Play is a safe and convenient sleep option for your baby but make sure that you always supervise them when they sleep. 

Pack ‘n Plays are designed to provide a secure sleep environment and to minimize hazards or reduce the risks of SIDS.

But always make sure that they come with a firm mattress and mesh sides that are breathable and visible.

Also, avoid loose bedding, pillows, or stuffed animals, that could pose a hazard, and ensure that your baby is placed on their back to sleep. 

What to do next?

My top crib alternatives are the Topponcino if you have a newborn and the floor bed if you have an infant or toddler.

Whichever option you choose, I know you’ll feel good knowing that your child will be sleeping in a safe and comfortable environment.

About Leslie - Latinx Montessori

Hello, I am Leslie. I am on a mission to help you support the growth and development of your child. With the right tools and proper guidance, you can navigate parenthood with confidence and assertion! My goal is to equip you with knowledge to help you construct a strong foundation for your child’s life.

Suggested articles

You May Also Like

When do you start baby-led weaning - Latinx Montessori

When Do You Start Baby Led Weaning?

Baby led weaning typically starts when babies are around six months old and showing signs of being ready to start solid foods, such as sitting up with support, having good head and neck control, and showing interest in food.

Read More »

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Get The Free Gentle Parenting E-Book

Gentle parenting is a leap forward towards setting a solid foundation for your child’s life trajectory.