Should kids sleep in parents' bed?

Filed under: Babies, Toddlers Preschoolers, Big Kids, Feeding & Sleeping

Rachel Campos-Duffy

I receive many emails and letters every week asking for my advice on parenting issues. Well, this week, I'm asking readers to give me advice on my current parenting dilemma -- kids sleeping in our bed!

Here's the lowdown: as many of you know, I have five kids. The youngest, Paloma, is five months old and sleeps in a co-sleeper next to my side of the bed. She still gets up five times a night to nurse and/or use my breast as a pacifier. Upon hearing this, a good friend recommended I buy a pacifier. Though I never used one with my other kids, I bought one and Paloma likes it and uses it. Unfortunately, she often loses it during the night which results in her waking up and my having to wake up to find it or nurse her back to sleep. My two year-old, John-Paul, sleeps most of the night in a crib in his room. However, he wakes up every morning at 4:30 am screaming at the top of his lungs to be taken out of his crib. He's stubborn and loud so we end up getting up and bringing him to our bed because we don't want his screams to wake up the baby. Our four year-old, Lucia, and six year-old, Jack, will also come into our bed, though the days and times vary. There are mornings when we wake up to all three kids in the bed. Recently, we purchased bunk beds and instead of storing the old toddler bed in the basement, we put it in our room in hopes that at least one of them would sleep in it. Occasionally, Lucia will, but inevitably, she ends up in our bed before the night is over.

Having kids in the bed disrupts our sleep and God knows that parents with five kids need their sleep. On the other hand, we know that this stage is limited (our nine year-old no longer comes to our bed at night ) and that we will one day pine for the days when our kids loved to crawl in our bed and cuddle. What should we do?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.