No More Drop-Side Cribs! What's a Short Mom Supposed to Do?

Okay, I'll admit it: In one of my most embarrassing moments -- ever -- I burst into tears in the middle of the baby furniture store while shopping for a crib. Sure, I was very pregnant (read: hormonal) and it was approaching lunch time (read: low blood sugar). But mostly, it was because picking a crib can be a super-stressful and overwhelming task.

One of the biggest things that stressed me out was that you couldn't "have it all" with crib features. I wanted something that could convert to a "big kid" bed later on and, yes, at the time, I wanted a drop side. The reason drop-side cribs appealed to me is because I'm petite. Reaching into a crib time and time again did a number on my mom's back (she's also vertically challenged), and she warned me that it could do the same to mine. But now, drop-side cribs are no longer an option. After too many accidents involving faulty hardware and other structural issues, the drop-side has been deemed unsafe for baby. So I wondered: What are all the short moms to do? Turns out, there are a few options:

-- Get a stool. As long as it's sturdy and easy to step on in the middle of the night, it should help extend your reach. "Being vertically challenged myself, I think this seems to be the most practical and cheapest way to solve this problem," says Dr. Ari Brown, pediatrician and coauthor of Baby 411: Smart Answers and Clear Advice for Baby's First Year.

-- Use a playard or bassinet. These are much lower to the floor, so it's easier for short moms to reach inside. The only problem? Babies quickly outgrow bassinets and bassinet attachments.

-- Try a safe variation. I ended up buying what's referred to as a drop-gate crib. Instead of the entire side sliding down, part of it swings open, and when it's closed, it locks into place. Also, some cribs are made with one side lower, to make leaning over to pick up baby a tad easier.

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