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The Big Cuddle: the family bed beyond toddlerhood

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Still loving the family bed after 7 years.  I swear, I never intended to crash with my kids for this long, and I have no intention of making a change in the near future.


I know there are a few folks out there who would like to see a post just like this.  A year ago I scoured all the threads in search of other parents who slept with the older kids, but all the most recent threads were about little kids and, quite often, the transition to separate beds.  I ended up posting to search out other parents who weren't looking to change the status quo.


Well, now the girls are 5 and 7, and it's been another year and I am loving it still.  Things aren't perfect, of course.  But last night after staying up with dh watching TV (etc.!)  Brushed teeth, put on my jammies and slipped in between my girls.  DD1 rolled over, plopped her legs over mine, wrapped her little arm around me and feel asleep again.  Last night was a happy night.



post #2 of 12

This is a nice post to read.  We still are family bed with dd (just turned 4) and i do feel like there are not many older kids and cosleeping stories out there.  The past couple of months have been hard on me, (just feeling overwhelmed with mothering and feeling like I don't even get a break at night feelings) and I have been considering changing it.  Still undecided at this point.  But, it is always good to hear of older kids.  I'm the only one i know IRL who family beds.

post #3 of 12


   My nearly 5yo DD is full time co-sleeping with us and I think it's great for all.  I was very anti-cosleeping when she was born and it wasn't until a cross-country move when she was 2.5 that the co-sleeping began (she was scared in the new house; what could I do, let her cry hysterically not knowing where she was?).  It was then that I realized I'm actually AP.  


She's such an affectionate, happy girl and I do think the co-sleeping has been integral to her general mental and emotional health.  I'm actually starting to volunteer our sleeping situation to others!  Our best friends co-sleep with their 6yo DD also.  




post #4 of 12

We're co-sleeping at later ages - less by design and more by "that's what just happened" (shrug.)  DD (6) sleeps with me nightly - she's an amazing little one, fiercely independent and confident (just handled her first sleep-over with ease :)  )  but when she's tired, she announces she's going to bed, marches up to the master bedroom, tucks herself in and conks out. 


My DS is 8, sleeps occasionally in his room, but does much better when Daddy dozes off next to him.  (we have a guest room that's sort of become theirs, lol)  DH snores and it drives me mad, but doesn't impact DS.  They're good sleep companions (he kicks which wakes me up, but not DH)


Our marital intimacy is excellent (we capitalize on early ams in other rooms and afternoon sneak aways when the kids are busy ;)  But we all just sleep better this way.


The other night I woke up, looked at the puppy snuggled between DD and I, her beautiful, peaceful face and I reached out and she sleepily curled her hand around my finger.   Heaven :)


Both kids are happy and confident, we all sleep better this way. 


We are flexible though - I had a stomach bug and everyone was flexible to not be with mama (oh, DS does crawl in with me sometimes, but understood I was sick)


PS Brought up the intimacy not to be TMI, but that tends to be the first question I have to field when people realize we still cosleep - amazing - can you imagine if I asked random people "hey, so, are you guys doing it enough????" lol

post #5 of 12

SweetSilver - just wanted to add that I come from a very tradition family in terms of siblings/nephews "IN THEIR OWN BEDS" as the ultimate goal and I ended up unintentionally with a different path - and there's no way I'd change what works for our family.  Even my very Germanic, strict mom has seen how confident and easy going our kids are about sleep (they stay there for a night every few months)  She doesn't question it anymore, just lies down with them for a bit and then rolls them as far over as she can t get some sleep!!

post #6 of 12

All my kids still co-sleep. The oldest is 9 and most nights there isn't room for her anymore but if there is an open space, she is in there! She sleeps in the same room as me in another bed, she goes to sleep in my bed and then I move her over when I'm going to bed. The 5 year sleeps with me as doe the 7 month old. The 2 year is with DH in another room. 4 kids so obviously intimacy wasn't an issue over the years despite having having kids in the bed!

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by BlueStateMama View Post

We're co-sleeping at later ages - less by design and more by "that's what just happened" (shrug.) 


Our marital intimacy is excellent (we capitalize on early ams in other rooms and afternoon sneak aways when the kids are busy ;)  But we all just sleep better this way.


PS Brought up the intimacy not to be TMI, but that tends to be the first question I have to field when people realize we still cosleep - amazing - can you imagine if I asked random people "hey, so, are you guys doing it enough????" lol

Your last comment cracked me up.  I wouldn't ask my new-mama- niece, "So, have you guys started getting intimate again?  How is that working with the baby in the bed?  Do you do it on the couch?  Tell me the details so I can judge you, because while cuddling with the kids might be nice I guess, marital sex is what's really important here!"


And, no, we never planned on this either.  It is just what works for us.


post #8 of 12

We too are an extended "family bedroom" gang.  We have a five year old and a seven year old.  We never planned on any form of co-sleeping, but my eldest (from birth) let it be known that she would not *ever* sleep in a crib.  Now we are SO glad we co-sleep.  I should say from the outset no matter what we had chosen, I can't literally sleep with my husband -- snoring -- so this simplified our choices.


I was just saying to my Mom today how great especially for my husband it has been in terms of very close bonding with the kids -- that dads miss out on a lot of the time because of not breast-feeding or being out of the house working.  I did the initial co-sleeping with my firstborn, and planned to do the same with my youngest.  But my husband had to sleep with my youngest after two months because she was keeping me awake literally all night long ~~ she nursed continually and I am one of the odd ones who can't sleep while I am nursing.  So at two months my husband took over with her and gave her a middle of the night bottle. 


It is amazing how close my youngest (who did her very early co-sleeping mainly with dad) is with my husband relative to our eldest (who co-slept in early days with me).  It is a profound bond.  Nowadays, my husband and I swap who is going to sleep with the girls in their joint bedroom.  It's not a "who gets the short stick" sort of thing -- we both enjoy co-sleeping and we both enjoy when we get to be alone in our own bedroom.


Our scenario is currently:  in the girls' bedroom is three big futons next to each other.  One for each person (we no longer all sleep in the same bed so that our kids don't miss us when we are not with them -- they don't notice.  That means my DH and I can have 'private time' whenever we want after the kids go to sleep.).  We lay with them as they fall asleep.  Then we slip out and have parent only time.  When we're ready to sleep, one of us goes up and joins the big sleepover.   The other gets the bedroom downstairs (with the dogs!).


I always say, if it's good enough for the gorillas, the dogs, the bumble bees, the cave men ... it's good enough for me.  Big fan of co-sleeping!

post #9 of 12

We're also still enjoying the family sleep room with our 3.5 and 6.5 year olds.  Also didn't plan on it being this way, but both DH and I are so happy it is.  One of DH's friends asked him one time "what is one thing you wouldn't change about being a dad?" and DH told him he wouldn't change the way we sleep together.  Friend was surprised but not in a negative way.  It even surprised me a bit, as DH didn't start out loving it.  He really wanted DS1 out of the bed at some point and for a while I did have to deal with putting him to sleep in a separate room.  I was exhausted the whole time and just hated it.  I was also dealing with some health issues at the time so he eventually came back to bed with us.  At one point I borrowed a book, The Family Bed (I think) and enjoyed reading it and would just read certain passages out loud to DH.  Not with the intention of converting him or persuading him, but just because I thought it was a good thought or something.  Anyway, that tiny bit of reading I did do with DH ended up totally converting him and I think he really just needed "permission" to do things differently than his parents had done.  He loves snuggling with our little guys and both of us admire their sleeping faces and their growing bodies when we climb in to bed at night.  Occasionally we are blessed with some hilarious sleep-talking from them or, our favorite, an all out sleep-laugh.

We're just now starting ttc another babe, so we'll see how it all goes with a pregnant mama and then a new little body in there.  I think we'll figure it out.


And, yes, of course we find other places at night for intimacy and we have a lock on the inside of the bedroom door for day time get togethers.  :)

post #10 of 12

Thanks so much to everyone contributing to this thread.  As someone who doesn't know anyone else who has a family bed this has been comforting.  My husband and I also never intended to have a family bed but it worked best for us early on and my daughter is now 4.5yrs old and we are all still sleeping well. 

I'm curious though: does your child fall asleep on his/her own or do you (need to) help your child fall asleep?

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

For our house, my girls like me there to fall asleep.  Not always the best situation if you can avoid it, but if that's what they crave, and you guess there might be a battle to change it, I don't think it is always worth the fight.  


So much depends on the kids.  And your personality.  


If I could have changed it, I would, and for I while I was able to, but then dd2 came along and dd1, always needy, just did better when I stayed there until she was asleep.  


Now that we are older, and with diminishing returns for the time after they fall asleep (meaning it went from 3-4 quiet hours after they fell asleep to about 1-2, if I was lucky) we decided to change bedtime routine and all go to bed together.  We started this in response to the light evenings, and to give the girls a bigger say in bedtime, though they are not given carte blanche to go to bed whenever.  I pay attention to when they want to go to bed, when I want to go and we figure it out each evening.  I've been trying to train myself to get up in the morning instead.  Hard.  I need about 9 hours of sleep, more than the typical adult.  It's been a transition for the girls to get back to the amount of sleep they need, but it is slowly working (we homeschool, so this kind of adjustment is easier.)


My girls are 5.5 and 7yo now.  We are still working things out.  Things are getting squeezy, but they haven't kicked me out yet.

post #12 of 12
I've also had different bed time routines for each of my boys, but both of them need a pretty early bed time so they can be up and crazy in a good way, not up and crazy in a grouchy way.
DS1 is my snuggler but has been able to fall asleep on his own after he reads in bed, then reads to me for a few minutes, then I turn on some music and snuggle with him for 1 or 2 songs and then say goodnight.
DS2 is 3.5 years and I do have to lay with him until he passes out. This is mainly because he never stops moving so if I said goodnight and left him in there he'd be jumping on the bed and likely getting hurt.

Sorry, I wrote this in backwards order, I actually put DS2 to sleep first then get DS1 in there after. DS1 will stay quiet and uses a dim light to read by, so this works out well for all of us at this point. But if I try to take them in there together they just want to play and roll around and I'll get irritated and then no one is relaxed.

And like sweetsilver said, it really depends on your children and you and just finding something that works.
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