The Evolution Of The Family Bed

by Kathryn

We never planned to have a family bed.  Yet, parenthood never seems to go the way we plan does it? Our cosleeping setup has changed throughout the past five years and three kids.  We adapt as our needs change, and our bedroom adapts with us.  We are facing another change and our two oldest have expressed interest in having their own beds.

We began with my first daughter, Libby, in a moses basket beside us.  As I learned more about attachment parenting and we struggled to breastfeed she joined us in the bed.  She was a snuggle bug, and loved to sleep cradled up to her daddy.  Less then two years later our second daughter, Julianna, joined our family and we added a twin mattress next to our bed for Libby.

Julianna wasn’t as interested in snuggles as Libby was, but she did like to have mom within reaching distance as her “security blanket” was holding a strand of my hair.  She moved to a second twin bed next to ours.

The girls have had independent phases where they are okay sleeping nearby, and they have had phases where they needed to be next to us all night.  Especially Libby, she craves that sensory input at night in order to sleep well and body pillows and sleeping bags are not as effective.  We had an additional full bed in a second room for those times, or just for extra privacy and space.

After we had this setup for some time, and had already added in our third daughter, Éowyn, we all took a trip to visit family.  While we were gone our cat decided to use Julianna’s bed as a litter box.  The bed had to be thrown away and I happened to discover that two full beds fit perfectly against one wall of our room.

This is our favorite co-sleeping setup.  We have one bedroom for sleeping and clothing and the other two are free for living.  Two beds together is actually more sleeping space because you can utilize the edges  without worrying about falling off.  With the mattresses on the floor it is very cozy and extra safe for Éowyn (who unlike most babies will crawl off the bed in the middle of the night).

Just two beds has been the perfect set up in our family for several years. Recently we have needed to expand to accommodate some of the girls’ particular needs.  Éowyn has a mini-crib for her naps.  She is such an active sleeper and with two other kids I can’t nap with her to keep her on the bed.  Julianna has moved into a toddler bed in her own room.  (This bed converts back into a crib and we have plans to adopt out of the foster system, so we will need it in a few years anyway.) She may want to stay there, or she may want to come back. Libby likes to try new things and sleep in a different place every night.  Even if they are done bedsharing and it’s time to move a bed out, we have treasured the extra cuddles and are excited to see the girls growing up.