About four weeks ago the Hoos and I took the bumpers out of LP's crib. We know that you are supposed to take them out as soon as the baby starts rolling, but we didn't see the need. They were removed in anticipation of LP starting to try to escape from the crib. She hasn't yet, but the removal of the bumpers have lead to numerous other challenges.
For instance, the bumpers played the integral role of keeping stuff inside the crib. Yes, this may sound counter to the idea that they can be used as a tool for escape, but it is true. LP still sleeps with a pacifier. We try to limit her access to pacifiers the rest of the day, but we continue to rely on them to help her self-soothe at night. Well, as you might guess, the pacifiers are much smaller than the space between the bars on the crib and they have a way of escaping. Especially since LP rolls around a lot at night. Baby girl now wakes up several times a week and gets upset when she can't find her pacifier. Some nights we ignore her and she will eventually fall back asleep; other nights the sounds are too disruptive to our sleep patterns and we sneak in, search on our hands and knees in the dark, and return the pacifier to the crib as imperceptibly as possible.
The pacifiers don't only sneak out in the middle of the night now that the crib is naked. If we are playing in LP's room she will surreptitiously coax a pacifier out from behind the bars and pop it into her mouth. Occasionally the Hoos and I do not notice for quite some time that she is sucking away while playing. LP finds it hilarious when we do eventually discover her ploy.
Finally, bumpers act as a bit of a curtain, blocking of the bottom few inches of the crib from the outside world. The Hoos and I used to be able to sneak in to LP's room without her noticing. Now, if she is laying awake in her crib she is much more likely to notice us. This screening might not sound like much, but it could be the difference between a baby that falls back to sleep and one that starts crying and insists on being liberated.
If you followed all of the advice out there, you pretty much wouldn't even bother to buy bumpers. You are supposed to remove them once the baby is around five months old. For some families, newborns don't even start sleeping in their own cribs until they are around this age!
My question is - when can we put the bumpers back in?