What I believe: Brad Pitt, Kevin Kline on co-sleeping

I tend not to write much about celebrities on my blog. As a general rule, I find there’s just too much other stuff going on in the world (especially my family’s world) for me to discuss who’s doing/saying what out in Hollywood. But when I heard that Brad Pitt (and then Kevin Kline) recently made comments about co-sleeping, something I just wrote about a few days ago, it was a) timely, b) something near and dear to my heart and c) I felt compelled to post.

From People magazine:

Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt says he and Angelina Jolie are going to need a bigger bed – for their expanding brood.

“We’re not done,” Pitt, 43, quipped, acknowledging public interest in the family’s growth. “They say, ‘Any plans for a fifth?’ And I say, ‘And a sixth, and a seventh, and an eighth, and a ninth.’ That’s my answer.”

“We also made a 9-foot-wide bed” that fits him, Jolie, 32, and all four children, Pitt who is starring in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, told the Associated Press. “Just big enough. One more and we’ll have to go to 11 feet.”

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From OK! Magazine:

Kevin Kline, 59, agrees with fellow actor Brad Pitt when it comes to the family bed, also known as co-sleeping. He and his wife, actress Phoebe Cates, 44, still allow son Owen, 16, and daughter, Greta, 13, to join them at night.

There is a theory that a child has to teach itself to go to sleep, and if every time it cries you whisk them out of their bed — the jury is still out on that. But our kids still sleep in our bed.

Kevin admits that every parent questions whether or not to have their children sleep with them.

There are so many books that say ‘It’s the family bed, why not?’ and there are others that say ‘Oh no.’ It all depends about their age.’

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Jane London, a deejay from local radio station Mix 100, recently spoke her mind on the air about Brad Pitt’s co-sleeping, calling it “creepy.” When questioned about her statement she responded, “I find the thought of having 10 people in one bed to be somewhat disturbing, to say the least.” You will notice from her bio that Jane has no children. I think it’s easier to pass judgment on others’ parenting when you haven’t had the experience of parenting yourself. (To read more about Miss London’s comments, click on over to A Mama’s Blog. You’ll have to scroll down a bit to get to the part where she describes the radio show and her emails with Miss London.)

what i believe

Personally, I think it’s great that Brad and Angelina are co-sleeping, for a couple of reasons. My guess is that children of celebrities don’t have the most stable lives. One parent is off working, while the other cares for the children, then the one parent comes home and the other goes off to film a movie. (Brad even indicates this in his interview.) When they are out in public, they are hounded by the paparazzi. I would think that could be rather frightening to a child. I think by providing a safe nighttime environment, such as a family bed, they are helping their children feel secure and a closeness with the parents and siblings. The other thing is that three of their children are adopted and I think by having a family bed, the kids are able to bond more quickly with their family. And just because Brad says they have plans for more children does not mean they will be biological children. I think there’s a good chance they will be adopting again. So the family bed will help the children with the transition into their new family.

A friend of mine is in the process of adopting two children and she told me that when you are adopting, it’s advised that you treat the children the same way you would treat a biological baby for the first year to facilitate bonding. In other words, if you would co-sleep with a newborn, then you should co-sleep with your adopted child as well. There’s actually a really good article about the family bed and adoptive families

And I’m glad that Kevin Kline is showing his support by admitting that his family also shares a family bed from time to time. I believe that when kids know that they can go to their parents, whether it’s during the day or in the middle of the night, that helps to foster a secure and trusting relationship. And as the children get older, like in Kevin’s family’s case, hopefully that equates to the children feeling like they can talk to their parents about anything – drugs, alcohol, sex, abuse, etc. I believe that to have a secure parent-child relationship, you need to keep the lines of communication open, and not shut off to them just because it’s dark out.

A different friend of mine made a very important point in that people seem to forget that we are mammals. She said, “Mammals give birth, lactate (and nurse their young until about the age when permanent teeth erupt) and sleep with their young closely attached. If humans had given up these behaviors, even in the last 200 years, we would probably be extinct as a species.”

She also pointed out that just because we can afford larger houses with multiple bedrooms, it doesn’t mean that our needs as mammals have changed. A lot of this is covered in the book, “Our Babies, Ourselves” by Meredith Small, and is a fascinating read if you ever have the chance. I read it a few years ago and should really get my own copy since it’s such a great book (and highly quotable). I’m kicking myself now for not having a copy of my own on hand.

I did, however, find some related information on The Natural Child Project: Throughout human history, breast-feeding mothers sleeping alongside their infants constituted a marvelously adaptive system in which both the mothers’ and infants’ sleep physiology and health were connected in beneficial ways. By sleeping next to its mother, the infant receives protection, warmth, emotional reassurance, and breast milk – in just the forms and quantities that nature intended.

My point is that I know co-sleeping is not for everyone, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the people who do choose to do it. Just because a family bed is not something everyone in this culture subscribes to, that doesn’t make it bad or wrong. There are very valid reasons to support co-sleeping. If Brad and Angelina want to have the Biggest Bed in the World, more power to them. But to say that they are “creepy” because of their choice just seems ignorant and close-minded to me.

It sounds to me like Brad and Angelina are trusting their instincts and doing what’s right for their family. We could all learn something from that.

For more information about the family bed, visit Ask Dr. Sears or The Natural Family Project.

Lastly, this is a bit of an odd request, but if anyone out there knows how to get in touch with Brad or Angelina or their agencies, could you please Contact Me? Attachment Parenting International is hoping to find a way to get in touch with them. Thanks! :)

Want to play along with “What I believe”? Click on over to The Natural Mommy and read more about it.

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30 thoughts on “What I believe: Brad Pitt, Kevin Kline on co-sleeping

  1. I was so glad to read about their position on co-sleeping, too. Years ago when Carter was a baby, we didn’t dare let people know he slept in our bed as it was so “frowned” upon. Now, I am so open about it and the benefits, but I am also open about the fact that I just LOVE sleeping with my little ones!

    Steph

  2. Great post Amy, I Still jumped in bed with my parent in the morning while I’m visiting them, with our daughter of course and I’m 28 still love to snuggle with them, co-sleeping is a wonderful thing!

    My husband and I will let REbekah sleep with us as lolng as she wants

  3. Oh, very informative! I had no idea celebrities were co-sleeping! I really like hearing that they are, though. I am so afraid that they just have babies to get publicity and that the children suffer so much neglect because their parents are rich enough to hire someone else to raise them.

    It’s good to hear that some couples are striving for close relationships with their children!

    And I liked your note about people being mammals… and the nursing until permanent teeth… It puts it all in perspective. Why are eager to push our young away from us?

  4. Pingback: What I believe: Brad Pitt, Kevin Kline on co-sleeping : Celebrity News Corner

  5. My children, ages 10 and 12 yrs old, will sleep in my bed when they are sick or we are having a bad storm. It’s comforting for all of us. We often co-slept when they were younger, but years of surgeries (for me), where I even kicked my husband out of bed put a stop to it on a daily basis.

  6. Interesting. :) As I’ve said before, we don’t co-sleep as such but the kids come into our bed a lot of times & sometimes for much of the night (particularly Lydia who is still bf-ing). It’s nice to snuggle and feels safe.

  7. Great article! We have always co-slept with the kids, and they still sometimes come in the bed at night, if they see bad dreams etc. I think it is essential for bonding with your child. Sometimes me and my 4-year-old snuggle on the couch and he might fall asleep. He calls this “love-time with mommy”, and it is so important for him. It’s a good thing that celebs are promoting co-sleeping. Thanks for sharing all the info!

  8. Thank you!!! WE have a family bed, I am a single parent, and I truly think it helps across the board.. but there is soo much talk against it, and some even say it is border line inappropriate that I want to scratch my eye balls out… In many countries around the world family bed is a normal part of life, even beyond the preteen years… we must be the strange ones. Liked your blog post… thanks for sharing

  9. It’s nice to know that there are other people doing what they think is best for their family and not conforming to what a few people say. Maybe more people will think about co-sleeping when they haven’t before. Brad and Angelina also babywear but I’m assuming you’d have to with that many young children.

  10. My husband just told me about that Brad Pitt interview. Great post. Co-sleeping is just something that makes sense! I’m not big on following celebrities, but it’s great to have this getting some good press.

    Off to snuggle my little one!
    Ashlee

  11. There are people who follow celeb gossip closely and want to do everything the celebs are doing. Who know? Maybe there will be a few more co-sleeping families after this interview. ;)

  12. Darn. I so did not want to like Brangelina, what with how they got together and it breaking up Brad and Jennifer’s marriage. But the more I hear, the more I like.

    Our children, more than 99% of the time, choose to sleep on their own. But they would only be ‘banned’ if we were like “busy” *wink wink*

  13. You know I’m a big fan of co-sleeping, so its always nice to see that others are benfitting form it as well! lol

    Especially celebrities! Makes them seem like normal people! And I agree, it must lend some stability and security to theirs and their childrens lives! Good for them!!! ~J

  14. Love this post! We’ve never let the Monkey in our bed, but he has his own and either my husband or I always tend to end up in it. I take advantage of the snuggle time as much as possible. I know there will come a time when he wants me O-U-T, but reading about Kevin Kline’s kids, I may have awhile. LOL!

  15. Although I do not co-sleep with my 13 month old (him sleeping with us kept me awake all night, as he is a VERY mobile sleeper), I still crawled into my mom’s bed after my dad passed as a young adult.

  16. Pingback: Four in a bed means half of your family is on vacation! « Cheeze Whiz and Mustard

  17. Thanks for this post. It’s well-timed coming just before World Breastfeeding Week (Oct 1-7). I sleep with my 3 year old all or part of each night and have since she was small. My husband is afraid he’ll squish her and so she doesn’t sleep in our bed but I go to her. Co-sleeping helped us stay sane when I went back to work when she was a year old.

  18. Great post!!! I’m SO out of the loop on pop culture — it’s great to hear this. I don’t get celebrity envy often, but I do envy the thought of a 9 foot bed, LOL. (And a bedroom that could accommodate it!)

  19. Thank you for sharing this. Brangelina are one of my fav couples for numerous reason, but this is just the icing on the cake! I love that they are always seen carrying their kids as well…one on each side of their hips.
    And Kevin Kline is another one of my fav actors. Love him.

  20. My daughter slept with me for 7 years and I loved it. She felt safe and I did too. Of course i was single then. When I got married she graduated to the floor next to me and on her own made the decision to sleep in her own room. She’s happy and well adjusted. Because my middle son was on a feeding tube and fed by a machine at night he couldn’t sleep with us and still doesn’t. He prefers to sleep alone . .that includes cats and dogs (he cries when they sneak in his room). LOL! My youngest is happy on his own too. But he did sleep in our room for a while I know that’s really not the same . Kudo’s to Brad and Kevin for allowing there kids the closeness and for showing the world there kids are number one.

  21. I love that they co-sleep. When you are little it is always more fun to sleep with mom and dad.

    Great post. Brad just keeps making it harder and harder for me to be mad at him for the Jennifer Aniston thing. Darn him!!!

  22. This is great! I think it’s wonderful that these celebrities are speaking about co-sleeping in a totally unashamed way (as they should be). I also think it’s marvelous that Kevin Cline admits to letting his older kids sleep with him. The October issue of “Parenting” magazine had a short article about older kids and co-sleeping. They actually had an expert who said it’s not a problem, as long as it doesn’t bother the parents. I thought that was fabulous! I was a co-sleeper, and I still crawled into bed with my mom through my early teen years. During those tough years, it’s a comfort to know you’ll be accepted by your parents, no matter what.

  23. I co-sleep too with my 6 m.o- I think society disapproves of it because there is such a high value placed on sex and the bed is supposedly needed for this so anything that hinders sex must be rejected. Same as all the disapproval of full-term breast feeding -breasts are sex objects and must not breast-feed, or only for a limited time before getting back to their real purpose, satifying men!

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