This family of four from Alabama all co-sleep together despite the eldest daughter being 12 and the youngest six.
Brandon and Meagan Deal are parents to two daughters, McKenzi and her youngest sister Sarah Grace.
They also had a son, James Mitchell, who they sadly lost to stillbirth.
‘When people find out we’re a co-sleeping family they think we all pile up in one bed but that is not the case,’ Brandon said.
‘This is our king bed, I sleep on that side (the right side), Meagan in the middle, little Sarah Grace right here (on the left).’
He also pointed to the twin size bed at the bottom of the king and said that’s where Mckenzi, his deaf daughter sleeps.
When he asked Mckenzi why she likes sleeping in the same room as her parents and little sister, she said: ‘I don’t know, it just feels a little safer.’
The dad continued: ‘You might wonder if Sarah Grace gets too big to sleep up here with us, what are we going to do? Put another bed in here? I don’t know, we will figure that out when we get there.’
While it may feel quite unusual to some of us, the couple recently told Insider that it’s a ‘regional’ practice common in their neck of the woods.
They even claimed they were ‘shocked’ to discover after going viral that it isn’t the national norm, especially since Brandon and Meagan both co-slept with their parents growing up.
‘I think Southern parenting is just completely different than Northern parenting,’ they said.
Both of the children do have their own rooms but still choose to sleep with their parents.
One user wrote in support: ‘We were a co-sleeping family. Our kids are 33 and 36 now. Our daughter is 36 and sometimes has to come home and sleep by her daddy when something goes wrong.’
‘If you’re not a co-sleeping family, you’re not a close family,’ another said.
One admitted: ‘I am 36 and married but must admit that when I visit my mum, I sleep with her. It’s the best feeling in the world.’
Others weren’t so keen on the idea though, questioning how the couple are intimate and how their kids will gain enough independence.
One mother wrote: ‘Thank you for sharing. Moving my six-month old into her own room tonight now!’
‘That separation anxiety is going to be intense,’ commented another, while one woman joked: ‘I can barely handle co-sleeping with my husband.’
After the questions raised about their intimacy, the couple said they go to sleep hours after their children and find privacy in other rooms.
But they aren’t alone when it comes to the practice of co-sleeping with Rapper Ice-T revealing back in May that he and his wife Coco still share a bed with their seven-year-old daughter, Chanel.
Rosey Davidson, sleep consultant, author of The Just Chill Baby Sleep Book and founder of Just Chill Baby Sleep, told us at the time that co-sleeping can be a very normal part of family life.
‘The term “co-sleeping” means sharing a room with your child, and most likely your bed, which can also be known as “bedsharing,”’ she said.
Laura Jones 48, a birth doula and Kundalini yoga teacher from South London, told Metro she shared a bed with her son until he was 14 years old and believes the experience brought her closer to her child, and even said it helped to give him more confidence.
‘My son and I have a very strong bond. As he got older, all the things that were bothering him would come out at bedtime, so we had a chance to chat through things he was struggling with,’ she said.
‘He still turns to me as a 16 year old to talk through his stuff, he trusts me beyond a shadow of a doubt, and it makes enforcing rules easier. He also has bags of self confidence and is very sure of himself and his principles, and I’m sure it’s because of the hours we spent snuggled up together.’
Expert Rosey explained that there’s no official guidelines, but most children will naturally start to want to sleep on their own at some point.
‘Most do so between the age of three and 7 years, if we haven’t intervened beforehand,’ she said.
‘And, if you’re not ready to stop, then there’s no rush.’
‘I knew in myself that when the time was right he’d sleep in his own bed,’ said Laura. ‘Once my son hit puberty at 14 he naturally wanted his own space – as did I, as he was getting much bigger and really starting to nick the duvet covers!’
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