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September 16, 2014

My First Montessori Newborn

{A note from 2022 Nicole: This post is a great look at where a Montessori journey can begin. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. You don't need to be a Montessori purist or have all the right things to incorporate Montessori from birth. So, I'm leaving this post mostly as it was written so help you understand our Montessori journey and where we started. With that said, a lot of what I say here is not what I think now, or how we approach babies in our home. Check out some newer posts for a more complete look at how to use Montessori at home with your newborn.}

With Henry, I had absolutely no idea what Montessori was before he was around 13-14 months old. He was around 18 months when we really started to shift our home in a Montessori direction. With Nora, we have had the opportunity to do things differently from the start. 

As I mentioned when I was pregnant we purged all the baby toys -- getting rid of anything with batteries. It's been nice not having a constant barrage of flashing lights and music. At this point, Nora's toys consist of a few wooden rings, rattles and some fabric lovies.

{This is still true of our home, Montessori materials for newborns are very simple. We still used these exact wooden rings with our 5th baby, Penelope!}

We also made a decision about whether to incorporate a floor bed or not. We compromised and have a floor bed for play and a crib for sleep. We're currently room sharing, so she doesn't actually sleep in the crib, but will eventually move. She does, however, use the floor mat quite a bit. She has loved staring into the mirror and at her mobiles!

{Morgan and I were so wrong here. We ended up using the floor bed from birth with our third, fourth, and fifth babies and LOVED it. We would never go back to a crib. Also a note that I said we were using a floor bed for play, we weren't. What I had created was a Montessori movement area for Nora. Read here to see the differences between a Montessori floor bed and a movement area.}

Another favorite, has been the series of black and white paintings I made for her changing table area. As Nora gets older, I'll replace these images with pictures of people or places. 

{This is another change we have made over the years, while black and white images remain popular and good choices for newborns, we keep them out of the changing area. As I have trained in and incorporated more RIE into our lives, we use care tasks as moments of connection instead of looking for ways to distract them during the process.}

One thing we've focused on with Nora has been giving her the opportunity to develop concentration by waiting for her to be complete before moving to another activity. So, for example, if she is staring at the images on her changing table, but I'm done changing her, I will wait until she stops staring. Same with the mirror, mobiles or toys. Instead of rushing her off, I let her finish her "work" before moving to the next thing. It does take a little more time, but never so long to interrupt what I need to get done. 

{This still holds true! And is one of the easiest, cheapest and most effective things you can do with your newborn.}

I'm by no means a Montessori purist, so we do have some things that probably wouldn't fit with a purist's idea of how a baby should be raised. For one, we use a bouncy seat and swing. While I do babywear a lot too, I still need the convenience of placing Nora "in" something. Plus, she loves the bouncy seat, and seems to be a baby that needs a little space from time to time. She's less into the swing, but in a pinch it's a good place for her to nap. 

{I am much more of a purist now but not completely. Again as we have incorporated more RIE - a similar caregiving pedagogy created by Magda Gerber - we have favored natural gross motor development instead of any container. We haven't used baby containers of any kind for our third, fourth, and fifth babies. This has worked well for our family and I think is very possible for most.}

I'm excited to see how Nora responds to this environment over the next few months! Have a baby on the way, or a newborn at home? My Montessori newborn essentials are:

  • Floor Mat! 
  • High contrast mobile -- by far Nora's favorite so far (but more on the mobiles we are using soon!)
  • Black and white images. I actually wish we had a few more of these around the house. 
  • A low hanging mirror -- this has provide a LOT of concentration from Nora.
{These are all still great things that I have used with all of my Montessori babies since!} 


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Anonymous said…
Love how you take the time to respect Nora's developing concentration!!! Thank you for sharing your Montessori journey with your newborn. Sounds like you're really enjoying her!
Audrey said…
How inspiring - I have to admit I have been sooo slack at incorporating anything Montessori for Evie, the last 6 weeks has been more about survival with her & her brother ;) thanks for the easy to follow post, I'll get on it!
Anonymous said…
This is a great post. i found that information on Infant Montessori methods proved to be the hardest to find. Ultimately we respected the child, which when it comes down to it, is at the heart of Montessori. I love the mobiles. Quentin loved the Gobbi the best.
Amanda said…
Can you share where you purchased your floor bed and sheets for it?
Sandra J
Sandra J said…
Excellent post. The information in this blog is extremely useful for the baby's mother.
nexia flox
nexia flox said…
really awesome for new mother . where have you bought floor bed ? please I want to know.
Meditation said…
Good technic showing like this best baby swing