This is a guest post written by my friend Melissa Panter, author and illustrator of the books “Mama Holds Me Close: a babywearing book” and “Mama Who Drinks Milk Like Me?” available on Amazon. You can find her at MelissaPanter.com, on instagram @melispanter and on Facebook @authormelissapanter
You may think I’m exaggerating, or perhaps just a bit overdramatic. But the truth is that the Lotus Travel Crib has most definitely saved my sanity. It saved my sleep, which has actual correlation with the ability to concentrate, regulate emotions (grumpy mommy, anyone?), and even drive a car. Maybe I should say that the crib has even saved lives by keeping me from being a hazard on the road. The benefits are endless. Okay, maybe now I’m overdoing it a little. Let me tell you my Lotus Travel Crib story, and you can judge for yourself.
On Day 209 of Baby Two’s life, a total of 7 months of sleepless nights, I stared at my pack and play. We used this for my first child. It was good. It was portable. It worked. But still I stared. It had a serious flaw. The flaw being that I could not crawl into it to nurse my baby to sleep and then quietly sneak out. No. Instead, this bed required me to feed my baby in my arms and then silently, with ninja-like skills, lower my baby into the crib, without disturbing his slumber. This. Did. Not. Work. The depth of heartbreak that a sleepless mother feels when her baby has fallen asleep in her arms, only for him to wake up immediately after having placed him down in the crib when all she wants is to put her head down on a pillow on a mattress under a warm, fuzzy comforter, cannot be overstated.
So, I thought of a solution and envisioned my dream crib. I told husband my fevered desire: I wished we could cut a hole in the side of the pack and play. This way, I thought, I could sneak in and out, or even sleep beside my baby. Oh, and we’d have to saw off the legs so that it would sit on the floor. No biggie. Unfortunately, my husband did not think this was feasible. Level-headedness is not well appreciated by sleep-deprived wives. Nevertheless, I took to the interwebs.
After a little searching, LO and BEHOLD! My prayers were answered! Glorious light poured from my phone screen and angels sang. I had found the Lotus Travel Crib. It was exactly how I had pictured it. In case you were wondering, love at first sight does truly exist.
I bet you think that I bought it right away, but I did not! I performed my due diligence and read the reviews. We’re on a tight budget because we’re currently paying off student loans the Dave Ramsey way, which means, in case you don’t know, that I don’t buy anything. Ever. So I checked our budget. I squeezed out some money and sold some stuff on Craigslist. I economised, and then, I bought.
Like a kid on Christmas, I tore open the box when it arrived and set it up. It lived up to all of my expectations and then some. Hole in the side that I could zip open and closed? Check. Zipper that didn’t sound like thunder? (A fear I had based on some reviews.) Check. Decent mattress? Double check. It was miles better than the pack and play mattress.
Some surprises: the footprint of the crib was skinnier than the pack and play, which made it fit better in our bedroom, and in the car when traveling. It was extremely easy to set up and take down. And cleaning was a veritable breeze. I fell in love with it all over again the first time I had to clean the sheets due to a leaky diaper. All I had to do was remove the sheet, unzip the waterproof mattress cover, and toss them both in the wash! There was no need to wipe or wash the mattress because it was covered completely by the waterproof cover. The mattress itself also comes in two pieces, but I didn’t feel the need to wash them since the cover did such a good job. After a few more diaper leaks, I no longer feel the need to wash the cover every time: I only wash the sheet, and I wipe the waterproof cover down with a wet cloth and let it dry. The hardest part about cleaning the sheet is putting it back on. However, this is actually because of a great safety feature: velcro tabs. When putting the sheet on the mattress, velcro tabs on the mattress slip through holes in the sheet to secure it. This makes putting the sheet on the mattress take an extra minute, but in the end you are left with a safer, more securely fitted sheet, as opposed to elastic bands on other sheets that get worn out.
Some tips: make sure to order a mattress sheet because it does not come with the bed. And like I mentioned in the paragraph above, the sheet is specifically designed for the mattress, so don’t use a generic fitted sheet. Also, know that the new mattress smell should go away; since I slept with my own head on the mattress I was able to detect this odor perhaps more than others. If you have a white noise machine- or a fan like I have- that will help disguise the zipper noise if you attempt the “nurse and run” technique.
I think the Lotus Travel Crib would fit anyone’s lifestyle, but it would be particularly helpful for breastfeeding mothers, especially those who like to nurse their babies to sleep. This is how I personally use the crib: I nurse my baby to sleep for both naps and bedtime and choose not to do the “cry it out” sleep training with my one year old. For nap times, I unzip the crib and feed him while laying down, and I zip it closed when he’s fallen asleep. At bedtime, I do the same. When the baby wakes up in the middle of night, I feed him laying down. Often, I will just sleep next to him on the floor for the rest of the night, half in the crib and half out. I feel like I get much better sleep when I am able to sleep next to him and I don’t have to fully wake up to turn over and nurse him. (A disclaimer: I’m a petite person at 5’2”, so it is probably easier for me to do some of these things than others.)
The Lotus Travel Crib was the perfect solution for me, since I was not completely comfortable sharing the bed with my baby. I have too many pillows and, as previously mentioned, a warm fluffy comforter. The Lotus Crib was the exact balance between co-sleeping and bed-sharing that I was looking for.
The Lotus Travel Crib preserved my sanity by making nights and naps easier for me, and I hope it does the same for you!