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Queen or King in a small apartment?

March 2007

Our mattress is worn out and I’m pining for another – ouch, my aching back! But we’re not sure how if now’s the time to go to a king bed. Or maybe if we do, we’ll really regret it and have to spend money to get the queen back.

Here’s the situation: My husband and I have a new baby, who’s now 5 months old. We live in a small apartment, just 850sf, and two bedrooms, one of which is his office where he works from home. That bedroom is likely to stay the office until we can’t stand it anymore and have to either move or rent him an office. The other bedroom is our bedroom.

So we all sleep in the same room, the baby between us in a queen sized bed. We didn’t set out to co-sleep, but we knew that we would all share a room for the next few years. Co-sleeping is not a philosophical stance or anything. We do enjoy it and think the baby benefits. We benefit from not having to go far to comfort her or nurse her.

Our bedroom is really small, with a queen bed there’s barely enough room for a crib (which we don’t use anyway). With a king sized bed, one side of it would be against the wall making that person have to crawl down to the foot of the bed to exit (not fun, but doable).

We all sleep pretty well together overall. My husband and I are keep-to-ourselves type of sleepers. We are getting a little crowded, though, and the baby will be a toddler and want more room to move about pretty soon.

What should we know about having a king bed with a toddler? And in a single bedroom? How about if we have another baby? Can a baby and a toddler share a bed with parents? We have our baby in a Snuggle nest, which gives her a specific place of her own in bed, which seems important for safety.

I know you guys with big houses are probably thinking we are nuts, and sometimes I think so too. But we own this place, and have no money to upgrade to a bigger house. We have to live with it, until hubby moves his office, which he desperately doesn’t want to do. So there it is, another middle class Bay Area family poorly housed due to the sky-high housing. Berkeley Mom


Yes yes yes, get the bigger bed. We also live in a small house (850sq ft) and even though our 3 year old son has his own room (we carve out workspace in other areas of the house) he still comes in bed with us at some point before sunrise. And as small and adaptable your kid feels to you now, she will probably not be as much as a keep to herself sleeper as you two are and you will be thankful for the extra 8 inches. Our decision to upgrade was motivated by the fact that my husband started sleeping on the floor with our queen size bed b/c there wasn't a comfortable way for us all to get along in the bed. Even if your kid moves to the ''office'' later, she will still probably want to come to bed with you for a nightmare, sick day or other comforting sleepy time and the extra space will be great. If you are lucky enough to move to a bigger house sometime before she goes to college, just look for a bigger master bedroom! cozy sleeper
My advice--stick with a queen size! We got a king size bed when our first daughter was nearly 2 and I was pregnant with the 2nd. We'd always slept in king size beds when we'd stay in a hotel, and thought it was grand and luxurious to have all that space! We still do. BUT in our own home, while it is nice to have extra space with a kid in the bed occasionally (we have 3 kids now, under 8), we mostly want the kids in their own beds--our bed is really the only place that's just for US. About the size--in a king size you can easily sleep without touching your partner. I don't think that's necessarily a good thing! We are so exhausted by the time we fall into bed, that it takes extra effort to cuddle, snuggle, and just be touching each other! When we had a queen size bed, we were much physically closer in bed (I'm not talking about sex), which I think is important. I think next time, we'll go back to a queen mattress! Berkeley Mom of 3
We have a similar situation--we coslept in a queen bed for 1.5 years, then switched to a king bed. We also have our bed pushed up against one wall, which we initially did for safety, so that we only had to have a bed rail on one side of the bed. Now that we have the king bed, we don't use a bed rail; instead, I place a sofa pillow at the edge of the bed when I'm not there, so if our toddler rolls toward it, it might prevent her from going over the edge. No problems with that yet! I have always slept on the outside edge of the bed, and my toddler knows that I am the ''barrier,'' and she can't get off the bed if I'm blocking her exit. Because of the blankets, she has never considered going down off the bottom of the bed, so I feel very safe about her not getting off the bed. Once she became mobile, it was very important for her not to feel she can get off the bed anytime she wants, especially as she is going down to sleep.

We switched to a king bed because we plan to cosleep as a family of four, whenever that may happen. While it was a little tight having 3 people in a queen bed, one benefit of my husband sleeping next to the wall is that he could sleep up against it, and didn't need to worry about falling out. My toddler does move while she sleeps, and sometimes ends up laying perpendicular to us, which gives us the least amount of room, but then I just move her back to the right position. It ends up that she sleeps pressed right up against me (and overlapping on me!) most of the time, so while we now have a bigger bed, I'm still left with little room to move, with her on one side of me, and the edge of the bed on the other. If I move away from her, she follows! I'm not really complaining, though, because I think it's sweet. I am still glad we got the king bed, and when baby #2 comes, we will have to rethink the layout of the bedroom to put the crib back in. big bed cosleeper


Don't worry, there's plenty of us out there trying to make do with kids in a small house. We are 2 adults, 1 toddler & 1 baby in 750 sq ft! My suggestion is to NOT get the king size bed if your goal is to not co-sleep with your baby when she gets bigger. (And yes, it does get more difficult the older they get.)

Our solution in our very small bedroom has been a double bed (I know, that's smaller than what you have now) with a portable crib (made by Delta) instead of the regular crib. They are the same size as a pack-n-play but off the ground and with the side that slides down. It takes up a lot less space and we are able to fit the crib in our room (along with 2 dressers and a desk - it's crazy!). It's not ideal but as in your case it works for us for now. I would stick with the queen bed that you have and see if you can fit a portable crib or pack & play in the room as well. My toddler used the same portable crib until he was past 2, so that buys you a lot of time. I share your pain!


We were in a similar situation, only we have three kids and one other small bedroom. We recently upgraded to a standard king. Our bed takes up pretty much the entire bedroom and I love it. Those extra 16 inches of upgrade are all mine (or so I like to say). We literally have only a few feet of space around the bed. I figure we mostly just sleep in that room anyways. Our first baby goes to sleep in the ''big bed'' and then is moved to ''her bed'' in the other room, but always climbs back into the big bed. The middle baby sleeps in the other room all night. The new baby sleeps in the big bed and sometimes in his crib (only one foot away from the end of the big bed). It's crazy, but it works. I do have mild pangs of jealousy when I visit people with more space, but we have way more space than most people in this world and I am grateful. Making do...
Berkeley Mom-

Your post could have been written by me. We, too, have a small apartment-- 800 square feet (with a 200 square feet porch area also), two bedrooms. One bedroom we've been renting out to a friend, but we will be converting to a home office when he moves. Our son, who is 3 and a half, has always slept with us in our bed.

They get very, very squirmy as they get older. I call my son ''propeller legs''-- he regularly kicks me and rolls around while sleeping. He likes to take up the most amount of space on the bed as possible.

Buying a California King sized bed was the best thing we could have done. But it depends on your baby's personality. My son has ALWAYS wanted to be exactly where we were-- he just doesn't want his own bed, never mind his own room. And we also like having our son with us all the time, which I know a lot of people would think we're crazy, but it works for us.

If your baby is different, and wants his own room, there are plenty of offices you can rent for $300 a month, even on Shattuck Ave. From the way you signed your post, it does seem like cost is a concern (as it is with us). I'd say a queen size will be doable until your baby is 1. We slept on a FULL until our baby was 2, and my husband is nearly 300 lbs. Yeah, we're a little nuts. Write me if you'd like. adina


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