Actor Christina Ricci has revealed her eight-year-old still sleeps in her bed, in what will be completely relatable to any parent who’s gone down the co-sleeping route.
Proving that no two children are the same when it comes to how and where they sleep, Ricci – who most recently starred in Yellowjackets – said while her eight-year-old Freddie still kips in her bed, her nine-month-old daughter Cleopatra is more than happy to sleep in a cot.
Discussing her daughter’s sleep-training, the 42-year-old told People.com: “The fact that I can put her down in her crib and she just goes to sleep when my eight-year-old still sleeps with me is amazing.”
Freddie, on the other hand, had a horrible time with sleep-training, screaming himself hoarse and banging his head against the railings of the cot, she said.
In contrast, her daughter “just sort of whined for about seven minutes and then laid down, clutched her little unicorn and went to sleep”.
“It was like: she was ready and she wanted to do it, and it was right for her,” Ricci said.
Emily Whalley, a holistic infant sleep coach at Fox & The Moon Sleep, isn’t surprised by Ricci’s experience. “Christina sharing her experience with her two children just really highlights how different children’s needs are,” she tells HuffPost UK.
“Christina has obviously parented her two children in the same way but they both need something different from her, which is totally normal and natural! I am sure there will be periods of time where her nine-month-old will want to co-sleep too.”
Ricci isn’t the only celeb to open up about co-sleeping. Earlier this year, Kristen Bell said her daughters, aged nine and seven, had “graduated” from a mattress on their parents’ bedroom floor to their own rooms. Meanwhile Alicia Silverstone said she co-sleeps with her 11-year-old son Bear every night.
For parents, there can be a lot of shame and stigma surrounding bed-sharing with little ones. Every co-sleeping parent has been subjected to ‘thoughts’ on their sleeping arrangements from friends and family members. This is why hearing experiences from the likes of Ricci and Bell can be oddly refreshing.
Co-sleeping is also just generally quite a good thing for little ones, argues Whalley. While there are dangers attached to co-sleeping with very young babies (you can read more on doing it safely here), the sleep coach says sleeping with children nearby – and indeed in the same bed – is actually really natural and can ease anxiety for both them and their parents.
“Supporting our children to sleep, should they need that, is a wonderful thing to do and we should be focusing on how much more dependent children will be emotionally if their needs were met in this way, rather than being sleep-trained or left to cry,” she adds.
Yes there are the downsides: namely getting occasionally kicked in the face and having absolutely no room to move about. But there are many positives too: you know they’re safe, they tend to sleep better (meaning you tend to sleep better), plus, nothing quite beats waking up to their angelic sleeping faces – or beaming smiles – in the morning.
Of course, sometimes co-sleeping can all get a bit much and, as parents, you might want a bit of your old life – and privacy – back. If this is the case, and you want to start easing your child into their own room, Whalley recommends doing it gradually.
“Perhaps ease your child into it slowly by still supporting them to sleep, but in their own bedroom,” she says. “You could play an audiobook for them to listen to as they drift off to ease any anxiety they may have.”
She continues: “I always ask my clients this: do you want to make changes because you want to, or because you feel you have to? If you feel you have to then ask yourself: why? If it’s a societal pressure then tune out the noise and enjoy it for what it is before it’s a memory.”