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To sleep, or not to sleep

Sleep is important for your health and wellbeing. It helps restore the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems which are vital processes that maintain mood, memory and cognitive function.

Sleeping seemed like such an easy task before I had children. Not only is it required for my own survival, when it is dark a child's body produces a growth hormone, and since their bodies and brains have so much growing to do it becomes our responsibility to ensure they sleep properly.

A disrupted sleep pattern can result in moody children and equally moody parents so it’s best for everyone to ensure they are as comfortable as possible in their camping surroundings, just like home.

So, where did our girls sleep?

Keira's port-cot fit nicely across from our bed with just enough room for a visitor (my niece Mikayla)

Welcome daughter #1 and we traded in our couples swag setup for a camper trailer.

The common arrangements amongst families with young babies are bed-share, travel cot or porta-cots.

Keira didn’t like her bassinet so started sleeping in her cot at 4weeks old. Our camper had enough room to put a porta-cot so the transition was actually pretty smooth.

Some nights/early mornings we would bring her into bed with us, but I just never slept very well when she was in our bed, as much as I enjoyed the cuddles.

Welcome daughters #2 & #3 and we were in for a challenge.

At this point we traded in our camper for a caravan. The bedding arrangements played a crucial part in the type of caravan we purchased and actually ended up being the final selling point for us.

The Jayco Outback Basestation is designed as a Toy Hauler, meaning the bunks in the back room fold up to make space for “toys”. Most people use the space to haul around their motorbikes, quad bikes or jet ski, and one day we hope to utilise the space for that too, but to begin with, this space was used for two porta-cots.

Mia & Savannah sleep together.

Twins sleeping together or separately is a personal choice and we could tell straight away our girls preferred to be together. We did have nights where one was in with us, and we even had a couple of nights when they both were, but it got pretty squashy so it was a rare occasion.

So, where do our girls sleep now?

Keira is now shocking to sleep with. She flips and flops, rolls and summersaults, it’s ridiculous.

Now 2years old, Keira was outgrowing her cot so needed to upgrade to a big bed but due to her acrobatic performance during the night we knew we needed a serious safety rail.

Plus, I didn't really want Keira to be able to get out of bed and walk around the van during the night, especially since she had worked out how to get into the cupboards and draws.

One night Keira fell asleep in our bed and I later woke to Keira playing with all the toys in lounge-room. I wasn't ready for that phase yet.

Mia & Savannah started to roll around and wake each other up. After a few really bad nights of no one getting much sleep, we trialled them in separate cots, side-by-side but it was worse. They protested and reached out for each other until we put them back together.

We decided they needed a bigger cot.

The design of the bottom bunks meant we couldn't tie or attach mesh and a few other options would have worked out very expensive.

So, armed with all these problems, off went the builder of the family to find a solution.

An hour later he was off to Bunnings and 2 hours later he was calling me into the van to inspect his masterpiece.

Cameron had converted the bottom two bunk beds into giant cots for just under $150.

He measured and cut melamine boards and screwed them into the metal bed frames.

Keira was safely contained but had a bigger bed to flip around on.

Mia & Savannah could stay together and the bigger bed meant more room to roll around.

Extra bonus is I can actually get into the beds, which I have done a couple of times either to comfort a teething baby or one night Keira was unwell so slept with Cameron in our bed and I caught some snooze in hers.

The downside is, because the frames are screwed in, we can't fold them up to utilise the space but that's not an issue for us right now but we can easily unscrew if we have to.

Our girls are comfortable and they sleep, as well as babies can sleep, and that's all that matters.

We use bedding from K-Mart

COTS - We carried 4 sets.

  • Tiny Little Wonders Mattress Protector

  • Cotton Cot Set comes with fitted cot sheet, flat cot sheet and pillowcase. We used the fitted sheet ~ flat sheet was stored as spare ~ we didn't use pillows

  • Our girls were wrapped in baby blankets (they liked their arms out so we didn't use sleeping bags)

BEDS - We have 4 sets of bedding.

  • Home Waterproof Fitted Mattress Protector

  • 'Confetti' style set (picked by Keira) comes with a fitted sheet, flat sheet and pillowcase. We use the fitted sheets which are perfect for our mattresses ~ flat sheets are stored in the cupboard as spares ~ Keira has a pillow but Mia & Savannah don't

  • All 3 cubs have infant blankets.

Our main bed has a fitted sheet, doona and doona cover (size double), also purchased from K-Mart and pillows.


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