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The Sibling Bed: never sleep alone

Loft with play area underneath

Loft with play area underneath

Hi Friends,

When my son was 9-months old, I used to lay on my back and nurse him to sleep cradled under my arm on my left, while cuddling my older daughter under my arm on my right.

During this process, I would try desperately to relax enough to soothe them to sleep, while still keeping one sliver of awareness on conscious thought so that I could extricate myself when that magic moment occurred of deep-dropping-down for my children.

At that point, I would delicately lift limbs and with the grace of the Momma-ballerina, remove myself from the bed. Then, I would walk into the living room and join my husband for something that resembled a conversation or a date with just the two of us. There would be this moment of “Ahh” as we fell on the couch, lit candles, and began to enjoy the silence of the house.

And then it hit us; there are two kiddies, who don’t need us at all right now, and they are sleeping in our bed. If I had a large mattress ON THE FLOOR in their room, I could do this same ritual of putting them to sleep, but when I walk out they would be asleep in their room and our bed would be empty, waiting for us! It was a revelation.



I was the first person I’d known to do “sibling bed.” I bought the bed, set it up in the corner in their room and placed baskets around the edges with various toys and dolls. We loved their bed during the day as a place to hang out and read. The bed was PERFECT for my son’s nap as I could nurse him down and leave him on the bed, or “wear him to sleep” in the sling and easily transfer.

My son never slept in a crib in his life and he never slept alone. I was still night nursing at 9-months, so when he’d awake, usually around midnight, I’d take him back into our bed. And, of course, if my daughter ever awoke we’d welcome her as well. Eventually, I night-weaned my son (at his second birthday) and then he and his sister would sleep the whole night in their bed. Once they were big enough for it to be safe, we bought a loft and placed the mattress on top so they could have more floor space.

Presently, my youngest daughter is 18-months, still in our bed every night, but I know that when we’re ready, the next easy step is the floor-bed. Some people call it “The Nest.”




Meditation CD available: www.LoveParentingLA.com

Meditation CD available: www.LoveParentingLA.com

Jessica Williams

About Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams created L.O.V.E. Parenting with a series of techniques for effective communication, deepened connection and more joy in parenting and life. Jessica is also the creator of www.UltimateParentingCourse.com with the best of today's progressive parenting experts together in one program. Jessica is a featured expert internationally on both Mothering.com’s Ask An Expert and the upcoming www.KidsInTheHouse.com. Jessica is a regular contributor to Mothering Magazine’s All Things Mothering, LA Parent Magazine, LA Mom Magazine & DailyBuzzMoms. She has been interviewed on television and radio and taught workshops at family wellness centers, schools and doctor’s offices. Her BirthKit has helped women have a transformational & empowering birth. Jessica maintains a private coaching practice in her native Los Angeles where she lives with her husband and their three children. “Truly amazing woman. I love her advice.”—Carrie-Anne Moss. “All you have shared has helped tremendously.”—Lisa Bonet. “I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach.” –Andrea Bendewald.

Comments (6)

Share you bed stories! It's old hat for some of us, but folks new to AP really utilize the inspiration! Love, Jessica
Ahhh - I know that extricating myself dance all too well! My daughter is 5 and sleeps on a futon on her floor. My son, 7 months, nurses to sleep, and my daughter likes us to stay with her until she falls asleep (or close), so I wait until she's asleep, then pick up her brother and carry him back to our bed. I would love them to have a sibling bed, and I can see it in the future. IF she ever stops crashing around in her sleep enough to make it feasible!
Yes, thanks for sharing! Each parent knows the individual sleeping habits of their children to know if sibling co-sleeping is safe! All the best, Jessica
So lovely. It is wonderful to hear other parents' loving sleep solutions. If you are interested I recently blogged about our family bed. I'd be happy to share if Mothering would like to repost somewhere. Here is the link: http://lusaorganics.typepad.com/clean/2010/09/on-co-sleeping-and-growing-up.html Blessings, Rachel
Jessica- I love the loft bed you have. Where did you buy it? Have been searching for one like it. My boys are 4 and 3 and have shared sleep with us since birth. We have been talking about them sharing a sibling bed and they are getting excited about the idea. I think a new cool bed could seal the deal. Thanks.
Our boys have been cosleeping for the past two years and we love it! In our old house they had their own shared room & bunk beds. When we moved there was a 6 week period when we lived at a local ecovillage until our home purchase was complete - and during that time we all slept together in one big tent. When we moved into our new home, it suddenly made sense to return to the family bedroom. We had rediscovered the joys of the family bedroom, even though the family bed no longer worked for us. Two years later, the boys are 6.5 and 8.5 and they cosleep on a double futon on the floor in our big bedroom. In the night when they have bad dreams or need help with a visit to the loo, we're there to help. In the morning, they know to sneak out and let us sleep a bit longer, or wait for the "snuggle call" at which time we all climb into the big bed together to start the day off right! I don't know how much longer this will last, and am well aware that our older boy is indeed growing older. For now, it is perfect. They love it, and so do we. Even when they do transition back to their own bedroom we will likely offer cosleeping as an option if they want it. Think of the bonding they get to do when they're asleep! I'm convinced that the sibling shared bed is one of the reasons they get along so well. Good to know we're not alone!
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