In the last years the recommendations to let the baby sleep in the main bedroom for at least six months, better the first year, got stronger. It seems to be positiv for the baby to hear us breathing, to get kind of an reminder to breath too. But instead of buying a bassinet for a few weeks (which we did for our first one too and which is often not used at all), we decided to extend our bed!
We already had a big 2x2m bed which we think is one important thing to sleep good and safe. But with an active toddler and another baby coming, we wanted more room for everyone.
That’s why we extended 75cm on my side for the baby and 80cm on dad’s side for our toddler. This means enough room to give our toddler the possibility to come for a cuddle (which he does permanently, even more since he needs to share us with the baby) and enough room for the baby on my other side. Also it means she can’t fall out of the bed and enough space to easily change her nappy during the night without getting someone awake. The only rule our toddler needed to learn was to stay on his side when he wants to come for a cuddle. You think it’s stressful? Honestly, it sometimes is but it seems to be so much more relaxed than the night life some of our friends have with their babies and toddlers! They need to get up, try to resettle their kids, need to be in two rooms at the same time because (of course) both need to wake up shortly after each other and before the first on is back to sleep. They than bring the baby (and toddler) into their (unprepared) bed at night because they are exhausted. That sounds so much more stressful and risky to me!
While kids in a family bed feel happy and safe, they are easy to resettle and we get enough sleep (mostly). Also breastfeeding combined with a family bed makes our nights very manageable. Did you know some emperical studies found out that co-sleeping mums have a better sleep because they adopt the sleep rhythm of the baby? So they don’t need to get up while being in deep sleep. Instead they finish their sleep phases like the baby and have a better rest. Also they protect their baby, adjust their position, lye them back to the back, connect when the baby stops breathing (it’s normal babies are having up to 15 seconds where they don’t breath) and they don’t even get awake. Watch the video to get in impression how co-sleeping looks like. It’s very fascinating to me!
Of course everybody needs to feel comfortable with having the baby nearby and that’s why the baby always stays on my side (because my husband likes to have the kids around but not the baby to close).
As already said, if you don’t like it at all! All needs should be heard while deciding for or against a family bed.
Also if you intend to drink alcohol, smoke or need to take medication, a family bed needs to be avoided because the risks of injuries increase.
I’m aware of the risk a pillow can have, that’s why I just use one small 40x80cm pillow. Also we went for a light silk duvet instead of a heavy duvet like goose/duck down or woolen one.
I wish you an open and warm discussion with your partner and the right decision for you and your family!
for legal reasons I would like to make you aware of the risk of the sudden infant risk syndrome (SIDS), which some experts think increases when sleeping in a family bed. To get more information about risk factors of SIDS, please check these links that discuss the common published informations critically.