Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Infant/Toddler Liveaboard Sleeping Arrangements

When we first purchased Ma'alahi (December, 2010), I had to scramble to find something for K to sleep in.  K was 11 months old when we had our first overnight trial run on the boat.  That first night, I had her, in a standard size pack n' play, in the main living area.  The pack n' play took up far too much floor space so I knew that it would not be a long term solution.  

Internet research, initially, was not of much help.  Google-ing "infant bed boat" "baby sleep boat" ... etc did not come up with any real functional ideas.  I wanted to find a solution that would work for a few years AND be functional when away from the dock.

I did have some success when I did an internet search for infant sleeping arrangements on RV's/Motorhomes.  Apparently, it is more "mainstream" to travel with young children on the road than it is on water.  

My research turned me on to a travel tent that is safety approved for newborn/toddler use - the KidCo PeaPod Plus (Model P204):  

PeaPod Plus P204 Infant/Child Bed
KidCo Website

We purchased this bed online for about $70 (I do not recall the exact price).  This is the "fully loaded" model that comes with an inflatable mattress that zips into the floor of the tent (from the outside).  The inflatable mattress appears to provide additional stability.  K's "house" is situated on the mattress in her stateroom. 
K is able to get out of the tent on her own (via the zipper door).
K - 21 months
This tent has been perfect for our situation.  Soon, K will transition to sleeping on the bed without the tent and M will likely move into the tent... which will then be moved into the main cabin area (at night time). 
When not in use, the tent folds up into a very manageable compact disk and is stored in a bag provided by the manufacturer.  (I don't see why anyone travels with a pack n' play when they can travel with these!)

Here is a good video demonstration of how the tent works (the model in the demonstration does not come with the inflatable mattress... same idea though). 

As for M, he is still sleeping in his inclined bouncy chair (due to acid reflux) in the main cabin area: 
M - back in July when it was warmer...
Looking into the future, our goal is to have both of the kids sleeping in the guest stateroom (tour to come).  We are exploring different customization ideas involving canvas walls and/or a bunk-type situation.  For now, the kids are far too young to safely sleep together and M is still waking up in the middle of the night to feed.  Time will tell...

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