The Controversial Family Bed


As I have mentioned before, I have three beautiful children with ages ranging from 7 years to 9 months old. I must admit I have been a huge advocate for co sleeping and family beds from the day my oldest was born. However, prior to my little angel coming home, I was completely against it. I’m not sure what changed; maybe because she was a preemie and I felt she needed to constantly be by my side, it may have been because it simplified my efforts to nurse her, or maybe it was because I was a young mother trying to figure it all out. Regardless, it has been a wonderful experience and I would not change my family’s choice to have a family bed. It has brought us closer; as there is something so sweet and comforting about having your children sleep with you… it has been the right choice for MY family. We have been safe; always keeping thick blankets off the bed when an infant is with us, if either of us has had any type of mind altering substance we will sleep in another bed, and I slept on the inside until each child was able to turn their head and/or roll over.   The older two moved out of our bed as soon as the baby came in. Well, our daughter has been out for over two years (HER choice) but she and our middle child now share a bed (mainly because he refuses to sleep alone and I just cannot risk him in the bed with the infant).

As with any parenting decision, you and your partner need to agree on whether you co sleep, and if you decide to do so, how you co sleep (sharing the same room with your child is also considered co sleeping). Studies have shown that parents who sleep with their child in their room (or bed) are just as happy as any other couple (despite the potential for increased night waking) as long as they have both chosen to co sleep. With that said, the number one question is: is this right for my family?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has stated that it is beneficial for both infant and parents to sleep in the same room, but not in the same bed. There are obvious reasons for this. It is said the risk of SIDS increases when an infant or young child shares a bed with its parents, especially if the parents smoke, drink, or take any type of mind altering substance. Another risk is getting caught under pillows, in bed sheets, and horrifically (yes, I have read about this) tangled in their mothers hair. You and your infant may both experience less sleep and/or frequent night waking. For my family, this has gone both ways. With our oldest, she slept through the night at 6 weeks. Our middle child slept in his own bed until about 1 ½ years old and did not sleep well alone, but immediately slept through the night once he started sleeping with us. Our youngest child is 50/50. He is still experiencing frequent growth spurts and hitting a new milestone every other week. As long as nothing major is going on in his little baby life, he sleeps through the night. Another con, obviously, is less lovey time with your significant other. Again, we have not experienced that… we have just gotten creative!

Our number one reason to co sleep with our children was to gain a closer bond and to be able to spend more time with them as, at first, we were both working. Another benefit is to help breastfeeding moms nurse easier throughout the night and have herself readily available to a hungry child. Co sleeping/bed sharing also puts you in sync with your child’s sleep cycle and, in my opinion, leads to greater overall sleep for both you and your baby because it makes transitioning from eating to sleep much quicker and easier (as I do not have to get the baby out of bed to feed him, I can do so in bed and we are both able to fall right back to sleep).

The decision to co sleep and/or bed share is not to be taken lightly. There are many more pros and cons to it and I highly suggest you do your research before choosing to, or not, do so.———————————————————————————————————————————————————————
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  1. Melinda Rae says:

    Soo many preconceived notions change when you have children

  2. sally kush says:

    that picture is so sweet :) kids sleep so much better when they are next to someone

  3. Love this!

  4. Kendall Carpenter says:

    thank you Sally and Peg :) and yes, Melinda, they definitely do!

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