Where would you put this (fictional) baby to sleep?

This is too simplistic for GQ…

A character in a story I’m working on has just gotten custody of his 8-month-old son, and is paranoid that he won’t have him long, so he’s very reluctant to go out and buy a lot of stuff for the baby, or accept people’s hand-me-downs.

If you didn’t have a crib, playpen, one of those pack and play things etc. as an option, what would you do with the baby when he needed to sleep?

Said baby is mobile enough to crawl and probably pull himself up to standing, which is what makes it hard for me to think of a makeshift place to put him. He’d be able to get out of a drawer, right?

yep, drawer would not work. How poor is this guy? Portable playpen is definitely under $100. Getting a crib used, garage sale, hand me down, etc is going to be under $100. If he’s at all handy, he could build some kind of wood box or even recycle (and refinish) wood pallets.

Or redecorate a closet and put kiddo in there?

Seems a little contrived. Just getting custody would be pretty exciting, but understand if on a tight budget and might lose custody, but not spending $100 for a safe environment for the child doesn’t make sense to me.

Closed drawer.


I actually knew someone who slept in a dresser drawer as an infant, due to the parents being very poor and not terribly sophisticated, so that was my first thought, until I read the whole OP. Then I thought of a clothes basket…maybe one of the old style wicker ones which had taller sides and wouldn’t be as easily tipped over as the plastic ones? Or a sturdy cardboard box? These aren’t terribly practical solutions, but basically what you’re looking for is what this character would come up with.

What’s wrong with the playpen? It seems the perfect choice. Adequately contains child, keeps pets out, comfortable sleep surface, easily cleaned!

Why is he seeking another choice?

What’s wrong with sharing his bed? If baby is mobile enough to crawl and probably pull himself up to standing, suffocation is not really a worry. In most developing worlds, everyone slept on one bed/mat.

Living in Japan at the time both our kids were that age, we slept on a mat with them.

Car seat and/or stroller?

Dog crate? I got nothin. Can’t really imagine being in the circumstances and not running out to Goodwill to pick up a used Pack n Play, at a minimum.

In bed, and I’d put a pool noodle or a roll of clothes/ blankets UNDER the fitted sheet so he won’t roll out if bed in his sleep.

Cardboard box with some padding at the bottom. It’s good enough for the Finnish.

Trunk of the car.

Safe, secure (unless the car gets stolen), readily available wherever he is staying.

Make it cute and comfortable though.

If a baby is a crawler, or even a roller, the main concern is that he will roll or crawl off any surface with any height, even if left for a second (mother of three boys here, I am not kidding about that even-for-a-second business).

However putting baby to sleep on floor with no caging means that if he wakes up while parent is asleep he will crawl off and find anything dangerous in the apartment, and trust me, a determined baby can find something dangerous even after nervous parents have obsessively babyproofed.

If I were in this situation and a walk in closet were available I would obsessively babyproof the lower parts of the closet make a pallet of blankets on the floor and sleep in the closet with the baby with the door shut.

Failing that I would obsessively babyproof the bedroom, move my mattress to the floor and sleep with the baby with the door closed.

One other solution that occurs to me is if the character has a small tent. Set up tent in living room, zip baby in, possibly sleeping in tent with baby.

I had a small tent for our kids when travelling (like this) - so the guy could use an old pup tent on the floor of the bedroom. 8 months old could perhaps pull themselves up to standing but not move it, or undo zips.

I think you mean “Where would you have this fictional baby sleep?”. “Put this baby to sleep” sounds like something different.

If you’re trying to show a combination of desperation and pigheaded individualism, then a closet is probably your best bet. Double points if he goes to great lengths to cut the door in two, horizontally, and rehang the hinges and add another latch so he can open the top half of the door to check on the baby and leave the bottom closed.

I mean, we can get crazy here if you like. It’s all about the character.

Considering he’s paranoid that the baby is going to die (and doesn’t want reminders around after he does), it’s not so off the mark.

Can he buy a baby gate? Or does he have one already because he’s got a dog? If so, baby gate in the closet doorway.

The real answer here is a Pack’n’Play. They aren’t that expensive and you can pick them up at Target or a used baby good store.

The other believable answer is “in bed with him” with some kind of improvised barrier on the far side. There are all kinds of safety caveats with this, but people do it. Sleeping together on a blanket or mat on the floor is also believable-- I’ve done it a few times when visiting relatives.

He might be tempted to use the car seat. It’s really not considered a safe sleeping situation, but if it’s for a night or two he wouldn’t be the first person to do it.

Some of it depends if you are trying to make the father seem very MacGyver-ish about it – or if the character is more concerned with all the safety things that aren’t recommended nowadays.

The most creative way I ever saw someone put a baby down to sleep was when my cousin-in-law pushed a loveseat against the wall, so that the back was facing out to the room. Generally, people are cautioned not to let babies sleep on upholstered things like sofas, because they can be so fluffy and babies can get wedged among the cushions. All things considered, this particular loveseat was fairly boxy and modern, not a lot of fluff, and the baby more toward the age where they can move themselves a bit more. I thought it was ingenious. (Ah, it was a similar style to this loveseat – but with a flatter bottom cushion, so you can see how pushing it against a wall would box the baby in.)

For your story, it also occurs to me that one could push the back of a couch or loveseat into a corner, creating a triangle, in which the baby could sleep right on the floor on a pad. The Dad could sleep ON the couch, to hear the baby when she wakes. You’d have to decide if you wanted the couch low to the ground so that the baby can’t roll under it … or higher up if you want a comic scene where the baby wiggles under the couch and Dad can’t find her.