There’s a lot to think about when planning a nursery for your new baby.
Many first-time parents struggle to work out what to include in the room, so if you’re unsure, you’re not alone.
You may be thinking about including an extra adult-sized bed for yourself or your other half to sleep on.
This can be a great idea if it enables one of you to get a full night’s sleep while the other takes care of the night feeds. It can also come in very handy if you have grandparents over to stay.
But, before you go ahead and buy a single bed for the nursery, there are some drawbacks that you’ll want to consider carefully.
So what’s the deal — should you put a full or parent bed in the nursery?
Having a full bed in the nursery comes in handy for long nights with the baby, especially when one parent needs to sleep in the nursery to let their partner rest. It can also come in handy when your baby becomes a toddler and needs your presence to fall asleep!
However, a full sized parent bed can take up a lot of room and may not be practical for every space.
In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of having a full bed in the nursery so that you can make the right decision for your household. We’ll also suggest some alternatives that you might not have considered.
Benefits of having a parent bed in the nursery
First, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why parents might opt to have a bed in the nursery.
1. A bed in the nursery can be better than a crib in the bedroom
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six to twelve months of life.
This means that either the baby should sleep in your bedroom, or you should sleep in the nursery.
There are many reasons why having a new baby in your bedroom might not be a good option for your family.
You may not have the space for a crib, you may have other children sharing your bed, or you may be worried about getting no sleep and then having to go to work the next day.
If a crib in your bedroom isn’t practical, a bed in the nursery may be the only other option.
(Crib skirt or not? Read pros and cons here.)
2. A bed in the nursery may allow one parent to rest undisturbed
There are times when parents need sleep like they need air!
When you’ve not slept more than two hours in a row for several weeks, a full eight hours will work wonders for your energy levels, health, and happiness.
Whether you’re recovering from illness, have an important work meeting planned, or are just running on empty, having a night of undisturbed sleep can be a necessity as much as a want.
If one parent can spend the occasional night sleeping in the nursery on an extra bed, this leaves the other free to spread out like a starfish in their own bed – waking up refreshed and ready to face the day ahead.
You’ll be tempted to tag-team all the night time stuff at first, but eventually, you’re going to have to trade off and make sure at least one person is well-rested for the morning.
3. Some children won’t fall asleep alone
While you may think “I won’t be like that as a parent”, you never really know until you’re in the situation.
The truth is, many parents with children of all ages have to wait by their child’s bedside until they fall asleep.
When your child is five and still refuses to fall asleep alone, do you want to be lying on the bedroom floor on a yoga mat, or would you rather relax with a book on the extra bed in their room?
Most children will need the comfort of sleeping next to a parent from time to time.
They might have an earache, they might be afraid of monsters under the bed, or they may just long for your company.
Even if you only use it occasionally, an extra bed in your kid’s room can be a handy piece of furniture for years to come.
Drawbacks of having a parent bed in the nursery
Sold on the idea of a bed for the nursery?
Before you rush out and buy one, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you might not want to put a bed in the nursery after all.
1. An extra bed doesn’t guarantee a good night’s sleep
If you’re a light sleeper, then just because it’s your partner’s turn to get up with the baby in the night, it doesn’t mean that you’ll stay rested…
… even if they’re sleeping in the nursery.
Nighttime diaper explosions, pee fountains, or the need to prepare a bottle at lightning speed to comfort a screaming baby are just some of the reasons why you might actually need both parents to get up in the night.
When you’re lying in bed and can hear your baby screaming as your husband changes a diaper, you may decide it’s easier to get up and start making a bottle or to give a quick breastfeed, rather than waiting for him to start measuring out the formula once the diaper is done.
2. Sharing a bed is good for couples
While it can be nice for one parent to get a good night’s sleep when they need it, if you have a bed in the nursery you may find yourself in there more often than you would like.
Sharing a bed with your lover is important for relationships to flourish.
Bringing up a baby together is stressful to any relationship, so it’s good for couples to bond by sleeping next to each other.
Sharing the nighttime care of the baby can also strengthen your relationship, and prevent one parent from feeling overwhelmed.
While a ‘one night each’ approach may work for some couples, a ‘one hour each’ or ‘one feed each’ works better for many – particularly when mom is breastfeeding and dad has to work.
3. Full beds take up a lot of space
Not many rooms are large enough to accommodate a crib and a twin bed as well as a wardrobe, a chest of drawers, and a rocker.
All of these things can take up considerable space in the nursery.
If you have a ceiling fan in the nursery, you should take care not to place the baby’s crib directly beneath it as this could dry out his delicate skin, nose, and eyes.
This can further limit your layout options for the nursery, meaning that you may find it tricky to fit in a parent bed.
(A lot of parents like to have a mini fridge in the nursery, but that takes up space, too!)
Alternatives to full beds for the nursery
If you love the idea of having a parent bed in the nursery but aren’t convinced that it will fit or be practical, here are some other options that may provide a better solution.
A daybed may be a better option than a full-size bed for the nursery.
They’re certainly prettier to look at and can offer a welcoming spot to sit in the daytime as well as at night.
Learn about the pros and cons of having a daybed in the nursery here.
A sofa bed
If you only plan to sleep in the nursery occasionally, a sofa bed can be a great option.
Sofa beds offer a comfortable place for parents (as well as older kids) to sit in the daytime, yet they fold out into a bed at night.
May sofa beds fold out into a double bed. This can provide some much-needed extra space to accommodate a couple of extra guests during the holidays.
If you’re short on space in the nursery, a futon can be the best choice.
These small foldable pieces of furniture can be used as a couch in the day or an occasional bed at night.
They’re also much cheaper than standard beds or sofa beds.
Many parents swear by having a parent bed in the nursery so that both parents aren’t kept awake all night by the cries of a fussy baby.
If the new nursery that you’re planning is currently still a guest bedroom, the easiest option may be to simply leave the bed in there and add a crib.
After all, it may only be a couple of years before your toddler can sleep in a twin bed themselves.
If you can’t fit a twin bed in the nursery alongside the rest of your furniture, then you may wish to consider whether a daybed, sofa bed, or futon would be a better use of the space.
Before you go, check out some more helpful guides like:
- A complete newborn baby shopping list
- Everything dad should bring to the hospital
- A complete guide to the labor and delivery room (photos, equipment list, what to expect)
Hope this helps!