Is a Family Bed Right for My Family?
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The family bed is a dream come true for some families, while others can’t imagine cosleeping with their kids. The family bed is a one-stop spot where everyone in the home cuddles up for the night, and some are even custom-made extra-wide so that all family members have enough room to doze comfortably.
More: Where Should Newborns Sleep?
Is the Family Bed Right for You?
A family bed has many benefits, and many parents claim that everyone in the home sleeps best this way. Children feel safe and warm sleeping close to their parents, and breastfeeding moms don’t have to get up when their nursling wakes for a feed. Lactation consultants and proponents of attachment parenting believe that nursing babies get the best nourishment when they sleep in close proximity to their mothers.
For others, co-sleeping is not an option. Many parents worry about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and are not comfortable with a baby in the same bed. In fact, co-sleeping with a child under age one goes against the widely accepted standards from the American Academy of Pediatrics for safe sleep. Some moms and dads have the baby sleep in a bassinet next to the bed to avoid the SIDS risk, and switch to the family bed when their little one is older. Others have a strict rule that all children sleep in their own bed from the start to preserve marital intimacy.
While some families feel that the whole family gets more rest in the same bed, others find the exact opposite when it comes to bed-sharing. Breastfeeding babies and toddlers may wake more often when they are sleeping with mom, and restless sleepers keep each other awake with kicks and wiggles.
Which sleeping arrangement should you decide upon? In the end, every family has to do whatever helps the entire family get a good night’s sleep.
Does Every Co-Sleeping Family Need a Family Bed?
Co-sleeping in a king-size bed or a California King helps make enough space for the entire family, but once you have two or three kids or your toddlers grow into older children, even a king-size bed becomes cramped. You can now purchase special extra-wide beds that work perfectly for this sleeping arrangement, or you can simply place two mattresses side-by-side.
What to Look for in the Family Bed
- Size: This one may seem obvious! Obviously, you want a large bed, but family beds come in different widths. Some are as wide as two king mattresses side by side, while others are a bit narrower, at nine or 10 feet. Consider how many people will share the bed and the size of the bedroom.
- Cost: This is a large piece of furniture, so it's going to be an investment. Remember to factor in the cost of comforters and sheet sets as well.
- Firmness: If you are going to have a baby in your bed, it's essential that you use a very firm mattress to avoid the risk of SIDS. Crib mattresses, which are safe for babies under one, are much firmer than a standard mattress.
These are the top family beds and mattresses we recommend if you’ve decided co-sleeping in a family bed is the right option for your family:
The Best Family Bed for Large Co-Sleeping Families
Mattress insider will custom-make an extra large mattress for your whole family to sleep comfortably with plenty of room.
You can order an Alaskan King size mattress, which, at nine feet across, this family bed gives you the most space possible in one bed. This bed is perfect for large families or households where everyone likes to stretch out.
Mattress Insider will help you find a mattress made of luxurious materials like cooling gels and supportive memory foams, providing the perfect sleeping experience. Because it's large, it's a bit pricier, but consider that you'd have to purchase multiple beds if everyone if everyone in the family had their own bed.
Combine Mattresses to DIY a Family Bed
You don’t have to special order a family bed, even if your co-sleeping family has outgrown a king-size bed. You can simply place two mattresses side by side. But please be safe: it is vital to remember that this option is not recommended for families with infants, as they can become wedged between the mattresses unintentionally and this can cause death.
Having a child or toddler sleep on a twin-size bed up against the parents’ queen or king bed works for many families. You can even place two king beds side by side; the possibilities are only limited to the space you have in your room. One benefit to using two mattresses is flexibility: you can move your kids to their own rooms later on and you already have a bed for them.
Here are some of our favorite mattress brands that can be combined to make the perfect sized family bed for your co-sleeping needs:
The Perfect Mattress for Sleeping With Wiggly Kids
Sleeping with your children can be hard if they are the type that moves around a lot through the night. Sharing sleep is meant to be done with all family members benefiting, not just the kids! The Sweetnight King Mattress can help with this because there is no motion transfer with the supportive memory foams--you won’t get jostled around if your little ones are dreaming about climbing trees and running down hills.
What Parents Are Saying:
“The independent coil springs make it so I can get out of bed without waking up my girlfriend or 1-year-old.”
A Good Choice for Hot Sleepers
Some people’s bodies seem to warm up as soon as they hit the sheets, to the point of discomfort. Feeling too hot can make it impossible to get a good night’s sleep, and this problem generally intensifies as more people and more body heat is added! So if sleeping with your whole family is hard because you’re just too warm, consider Vibe’s gel memory foam mattress. The cooling gels are likely to improve your sleeping experience.
What Parents Are Saying:
“It is very comfortable, not a hard mattress at all not too soft.”
“It doesn’t get hot.”
A Good Choice if You Want a Firm Mattress
Some people sleep best on a firm mattress, especially tummy-sleepers. Infants need an extra firm mattress that meets the safe sleep standards, but even after age one some parents might feel most comfortable co-sleeping on a mattress that is on the firmer side. Safety can still be an issue for older babies. The Zinus Support Plus is the firmest mattress we could find, and it is still very comfortable. It also has low to no motion transfer so families members won’t wake each other up with their movements.
What Parents are Saying:
“This is definitely ‘extra firm’ and exactly what I was looking for.”
“My 11 yo son loves it too.”
A Good Family Bed Option for the Family on a Budget
Let’s face it: mattresses are not cheap. We spend at least a third of our lives on them, so we want them to be high value, but money is an object to many families! The AmazonBasics Premium Hybrid Mattress offers a high-quality mattress at a low price point.
It gives good body support and its foam layer conforms to your body’s shape for maximum comfort. Kids and parents alike will have a good sleeping experience with this mattress, and it won’t break the bank.
What Parents Are Saying:
“Both my wife and my son love this bed!”
“We bought this for my 5 yo daughter, but I have slept on it a few times with her. It is soft and comfy while being supportive, too.”
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Elisa is a well-known parenting writer who is passionate about providing research-based content to help parents make the best decisions for their families.