Family bed: advantages, disadvantages and tips

family bed tips The family bed is trendy and will be controversially discussed. In fact, parents have the advantage of not having to get up all the time, especially while breastfeeding. At the same time, many people fear that the baby could be harmed.

In fact, there are some factors that can be dangerous for an infant in the parents’ bed, such as a waterbed, mattresses, pillows and blankets that are too soft, a parent who smokes, parents who consume alcohol, drugs or medication. In any case, protect your family bed against all possible risks – for example with fall protection on the family bed. However, don’t let this put you off – everyone who decides on a family bed will also find solutions!

Alternatives to a family bed are so-called Baby balconies, extra beds or nests. In all of them, a small sleeping area is created for the infant directly next to the parents in or on the family bed.

1. Family bed – yes or no?

family bed baby

An infant is best kept in a sleeping bag pajama without a blanket or pillow.

Many young parents deal with this topic, but also Scientists and media. The discussions are sometimes passionate and take shape Camp of supporters and opponents. The topic actually evokes a lot of emotions and at the same time, in addition to good arguments on both sides, there is also some misinformation circulating.

Ultimately you have to each couple make their own decision. In this article we will inform you about the pros and cons as well as about options for building a family bed yourself or setting up temporary alternatives. An alternative to the finished bed is the family bed on pallets and DIY instructions. When in doubt, you should always trust your own instincts.

2. Possible risks

If you are thinking about a family bed then you should objective risks excluded right from the start and measures taken to secure the family bed extensively. These risks are usually also at issue when connections are made between sudden infant death syndrome and the baby’s sleeping place.

  • Anyone who smokes, consumes alcohol, drugs or strong medication should under no circumstances share a bed with an infant.
  • Cracks in the bed, pillows, blankets and cuddly toys pose dangers to an infant. Overheating, shortness of breath, etc. can occur. Therefore, the baby should only lie in a sleeping bag on a rather hard mattress. Pillows and blankets are not recommended at all in the first year of life.
  • Waterbeds and soft mattresses also pose dangers that a baby should not be exposed to. It’s just too easy for him to roll into an adult’s cavity and become overheated or have trouble breathing.
  • If the baby sleeps outside, fall protection is necessary or you should look for a family bed with fall protection before the birth or during pregnancy.

Tip: Many people are unsettled because it is claimed that the babies who are allowed to sleep with their parents are being pampered too much. However, this is more of an old wives’ tale that is not supported by any study. It doesn’t hurt if the natural need for closeness is satisfied. Rather, these babies cry less and sleep more.

3. Advantages and disadvantages of a family bed

Apart from the aforementioned risk factors, there are many advantages and some disadvantages a family bed.


  • When breastfeeding, mother and child do not have to get up and fall asleep more quickly. Both get more sleep.
  • In the family bed, babies and children sleep more peacefully and longer because the smell and breathing sounds of their parents calm them down.
  • Parents who can be at home less also have the opportunity to be more close.
  • Being with parents while sleeping meets children’s instinctive need for security.


  • The parents’ bed is no longer the ideal place for your sex life (but all other rooms are).
  • There is also no need to read, talk, make phone calls, etc. comfortably in bed – the bed is only used for sleeping and cuddling up as a family.
  • Family bed XXL: For reasons of space, a larger bed often has to be built or purchased (although you also have more storage space under the larger family bed).
  • Anyone who is sick or has drunk alcohol must be banished to the couch.
  • In some cases, children’s lively movements disrupt adults’ sleep.

4. Don’t be put off

family bed-family

The parents’ bed is never too small as a family bed – not even for snuggling up on Sunday mornings.

There are hardly any neutral reports on the subject of family beds. For some people, anyone who decides to have a family bed is a social-romantic weirdo who turns their children into dependent, effeminate beings. Those who decide against it appear to others as bad parents who deny their children a bond and security without which they cannot develop well.

Nobody should have a bad consciencewhen he or she decides for or against a family bed. No matter what the reason. There are many ways parents can convey closeness and security to their children. This includes, for example, sleep rituals and cuddle times as well as loving, confident interactions with one another – with or without a family bed.

Tip: Unlike in the past, today only the supine position is recommended for babies. Breathing problems are more common in the prone position.

5. Buy or build a family bed yourself?

Build your own family bed

Build your own family bed – good, firm mattresses are more important than anything else.

A family bed is a must be sufficiently largeso that everyone can sleep well. In any case, the dimensions play an important role when purchasing the family bed: 270 x 200 or 300 x 200 – the 30 cm width makes a bigger difference in the XXL family bed than you might initially believe.

A relatively simple and sustainable DIY solution is not to buy a family bed, but simply place a bed at the same height next to the existing parents’ bed.

If the bed has a footboard and one side is against the wall, the child is already there protected from falling. A bridge to cover the gap between the mattresses and the wall is the only additional thing you need.

If there is a risk of the beds slipping apart, they should definitely be be fixed. Sometimes a small strap on the feet of the bed frame is enough. The bed frames can often be screwed together inconspicuously.

The additional single bed can later be moved to the children’s room when the children are sleeping in their own room. If more space is needed, the same thing is possible with two larger beds or two additional single beds – provided the bedroom has enough space. Are anyway a new bed and/or new mattresses due, the trade is already prepared for it. You can easily build the family bed yourself in DIY style or you can screw it together from simple bed frames. If you prefer it lacquered rather than natural, you can paint your self-made family bed white or colorful – depending on your personal taste.

6. Tips on mattresses etc. for the family bed

Other equipment

The right lighting is important. Everyone should find their way to the toilet or back to bed safely – even with a baby in their arms. However, the rest of the family should not be woken up by bright lights. Night lights with motion detectors meet these requirements. A room in which a whole family sleeps needs good ventilation without drafts. Check the humidity with a hydrometer and adjust your ventilation behavior.

  1. Choose mattresses that are not too soft. Especially in the area intended for an infant or toddler. A topper protects the mattress, but should not be too high or too soft. Make sure that the mattress or topper does not get too warm.
  2. A breathable but waterproof base under the topper or sheet protects the mattress from major or minor mishaps.
  3. There should be no gaps between the mattresses, as these also pose a danger to an infant. There are mattress bridges that reliably close these gaps.
  4. Fall protection devices are often inserted between the mattress and the bed frame. Make sure that the mattress is not damaged by sharp edges or corners.
  5. Regular ventilation and care of the mattresses ensure a good sleeping environment.
  6. Use natural materials that are free of unpleasant or even unhealthy fumes.

7. Alternatives to the family bed

family bed-extra bed

An alternative for the first time is a baby balcony or extra bed – open to the parents’ bed.

Anyone who is particularly interested in using one for the first few months own sleeping place for the baby Feels more comfortable, you can first use a baby balcony or an extra bed. On the one hand, you have the advantage of not having to get out of bed to breastfeed. On the other hand, you can still take your time deciding for or against a family bed.

If the parents’ bed is big enough, babies can sleep in a good little nest between their parents for the first few months, if nothing else speaks for themselves and the parents tend to sleep peacefully.

Such a nest gives the infant a framework that he cannot yet overcome. That’s how he can do it somewhat protected from pillows and blankets.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

  • Family bed – box spring bed? There is nothing wrong with a box spring bed as a family bed, as long as the mattress is firm enough. The baby must not sink or roll towards another body because it will sink too much.
  • Family bed – experiences? There are numerous testimonials on the Internet. You can benefit from this when making your decision. Take some time and read what experiences other young families have had.
  • Family bed – up to what age? There is no general formula for this. It depends on your and your children’s needs. As a rule, children want to become more independent over time. Pay attention to your children’s natural aspirations for autonomy and support them.
  • Family bed – psychology? In fact, there are studies with different tendencies. However, no significant difference seems to be noticeable in the long term. This suggests that the decision for or against a family bed should be made based on your own needs. Current However, studies assume thisthat children benefit more from a family bed.
  • Family bed 300×200 cm? Family bed 270×200? Ikea hack or custom-made – family beds are available in many different widths. However, you should remember that the final size is best achieved using standard mattress dimensions.

Image credits: Shutterstock/, Shutterstock/About Life, Shutterstock/Le Manna, Shutterstock/Olena Yakobchuk, Shutterstock/Andrew Angelov, Shutterstock/peterschreiber-media, Shutterstock/Ekaterina Pokrovsky (chronologically or in the order of the images used in the buying guide sorted)