Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Our Family Bed

Throughout our years as parents (16 years now) we have implemented what many call the "family bed". Our youngest child always rooms with us and sleeps in our bed.  I'm one of those nursing nuts that nurses my babies until they self-wean sometime between 18 months and well, our youngest now will be three in June and is still nursing (he tells me he really loves it).  The family bed is NOT for everyone.  It would not work if Wingnut weren't the one driving it in our family. He has always loved sleeping with the kids in our room, whether just to cuddle or to make sure they are still breathing.  I went along with the idea because, for me, it meant more sleep.  If I don't have to get up out of bed to get a crying baby and nurse him back to sleep, that definitely means more sleep for me.  I barely wake up to help a baby latch on, anymore.  As our family grew we would eventually move an older child out of our room, but there was always a tacit agreement that they were welcome to come on in and cuddle with us in the morning as needed.  I'll tell you, too, we have never had problems with night terrors or nightmares.  I believe their night time security comes from utilizing the family bed.

Originally, our two oldest had their own rooms, but Stat Boy kept crawling into Karate Kid's bed at night, so we gave in and moved his bed into her room.  Today, we have our master bedroom and three smaller bedrooms. Stat Boy has been on his own for several years now, but will eventually gain a roommate, whenever Baby Wingnut is ready to move out of our room. The girls are all paired up in the remaining two bedrooms with two girls each to a queen sized bed.  On weekends and during the summer our kids prefer to all sleep together in the basement on piles of blankets and cushions they have acquired over the years (they are all a little weird, I know).

With our oldest turning 16 and our next oldest daughter approaching her teen years, I began to think, possibly, a 16 year old would not want to continue sharing her bed, let alone bedroom with a nine year old.  After discussing options with the girls and Wingnut, we went ahead and purchased a trundle bed to replace the queen bed and we are redecorating the oldest girls' room to accommodate the increasing maturity in our family.  As much as I don't want them to, our babies all grow up, hopefully they'll still want to continue having their slumber parties in the basement.
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Sarah (JOT) said...

Our kids have never come to visit us in the morning and stay with us. I did this as a child with my parents - crawled right in with them in the AM! They have rarely crawled in during the middle of the night. I'd welcome them no problem if they wanted to have a bit of a lie down with us, but . . . the youngest is just now getting over the phase of sleeping on his sisters floor rather than in his own bed in the same room as his brother. AS long as they are happy, safe, and getting some sleep, it doesn't matter to me where they sleep.

Yes, they are all growing up. Let me tell you: I have two teens in the house - it never stays bad, so chin up! My youngest will be twelve this year . . . sheesh. Time flies!

Tonya said...

You have taught me lots about the family bed idea, but not just about letting the kids sleep in your bed! The concept of having kids share a bed is so foreign to our culture! You are the first person I met who had their kids sleeping in double beds. We now do that ourselves! The boys share a bed - and sleep much better for it. They hardly ever wake during the night unless they are alone! The girls have bunk beds, but many nights are sharing one of the beds. :-)


Sophie said...

Don't be so sure that they won't want to share a room as they get older! We (four oldest) decided all by ourselves that we wanted Jane to come into our room. All five girls share a room now. Mama and Papa were skeptical, but it's working excellently.

Walter said...

Wow...I am glad we chose to stay away from the family bed. Sawyer has always had that little boy sweat smell...right after he got done with the dirty diaper meets desatin smell. Jaylee...well let's just say she talks just as much or more in her sleep than she does when awake. No it's not night terrors...99% of her sleeping conversations are pleasant and loud (we can hear them in our room). And Abby...I don't call her monkey for nothing. That kid does gymnastics in her sleep. I let her climb into bed with us once and when I woke up she was kicking me in the ribs while digging her head into Jen's ribs at the same time. Your kids are cute and I can see how the "Family Bed" has helped in their development to becoming great kids (understanding that I am a totally biased uncle)! If we would have instituted the "Family Bed" I would have become more familiar with sleeping on the couch!