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James and Ola Jordan discuss: Ella sleeps with us... but should we let her?

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Sophie Hamilton
Sophie HamiltonParenting Editor
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It's the nightly battle many parents up and down the country face: should you let your child sleep in your bed with you?

MORE: Ola and James Jordan discuss: is it cruel to give kids bizarre names?

HELLO!'s parenting columnists Ola and James Jordan know all about this tricky dilemma as their 23-month-old daughter Ella is rather partial to sleeping between mummy and daddy.

WATCH: Ella learns her colours with mum and dad!

At the moment, adorable Ella is poorly with a bad cough, so is spending more time in her parents' bed than normal. James told us: "We took Ella to the doctors to check her chest because she has such a bad cough at night, but they said she seems OK. She's keeping herself and us up."

Despite the sleep deprivation that comes from having a wriggly toddler in their bed, the former Strictly Come Dancing stars admit they love Ella's cuddles in the night – but they say she'll have to learn to sleep in her own bed soon.

Below, Ola and James discuss the pros and cons of co-sleeping with their daughter Ella…

ella bedroom

Ella rather likes her parents' bed

Why Ella started sleeping with Ola and James…

Ola: We've messed up big time with this co-sleeping thing! We always said from day one, 'When we have kids we're not going to let them sleep with us because they need to have their own bed, and we need to have our own bed." We used to be those people. Then Ella came along and then…

James: And then you just want to sleep because you feel like your eyes are bleeding, and they're not going back in bed and they're crying and waking up and disturbing your sleep.

Ola: I'll tell you what happened… when she was in her bedroom at the beginning she was really good, but then she started to wake up. So I gave her a bottle and she went back into her bed. Then we stopped the bottle because you can't keep giving her a bottle in the middle night. She still woke up, so I'd go in and give her cuddles and put her back in her bed.

But it got to the point where she was waking up so many times at night, I was like a walking zombie. I was waking up six times a night. I said to James, 'I can't do this anymore'.

She wasn't letting him go in for a cuddle – she wanted me. So it was really hard because we weren't able to split it.

James: Some people say, 'Oh, you should just let them cry it out,' but personally, I don't want to hear my daughter in distress calling for her mummy and daddy.

Ola: And we took such a long time to get pregnant and have our little precious baby, I don't want her to cry at night for me. I want to give her a cuddle.

James: I'm sure lots of people feel like that. It's not necessarily because we had IVF and waited so long.

Ola: But a lot of people might be a bit more, 'No, I'm going to let her cry.'

James: It really depends on the person

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ola ella

Mum loves her Ella snuggles

The nightly battle

James: Right now Ella is in our bed every night. It gets earlier and earlier.

Ola: She goes to bed and then she wakes up about 1/2am. Last night she woke up about 11.30pm, so I went in – I wasn't even ready for my own bed yet – and I tried to put her back in her own cot but she didn't want to. She was crying and saying, 'In there, in there,' and pointing at the door. She wanted to go into my bed.

I had to take her into our room and I wasn't even ready in my pyjamas yet. So I took her in, waited till she fell asleep in my bed and then I got changed.

James: She rules us. She basically rules our lives. We have no life anymore.

Ola: Yeah and how are we supposed to have another one?

James: We're going to have to get a bigger bed!

Although, our bed now is big – it's emperor sized, two metres wide. The reason we got an emperor bed is because when we sleep, we don't like touching! We like space. We're not like these couples you see in movies where they wake up and they're still cuddling. Your arm's gone dead and you can't feel it…

Ola: We've been married for far too long!

James: Yeah, we get in bed, turn our backs to each other and go to sleep! Ella's ruined all that. Now we wake up and her foot or her bum is right in your face.

At this rate, we'll have our teenage daughter still in bed with us and probably another child as well [laughs].

Ola: No, don't be silly. When she gets to 13, she won't want to come in.

James: Thirteen?!

At one point, I'm going to say enough is enough. She's going to hate it. But at the moment, I actually quite like it.

ella dad

Dad James loves Ella sleeping in their bed

The cute factor

Ola: Ella is still so very little. She literally crawls like a little cat for a cuddle with us in our bed.

James: She snuggles up and goes, 'Daddy, cuddle'. I'm not going to lie. I like it. She's got us wrapped around her little finger.

Ola: She absolutely does. We will hold our hands up and say, 'We are wrong and we know that but it is what it is now.'

James: I do like the fact that she's sleeping next to us and when I wake up I see my beautiful daughter next to me, but I don't necessarily want that all the time and right now it is all the time. It would also be better for Ella to get used to her own bed.

So is she a still sleeper?

James: No, absolutely not! I woke up this morning and I was pushed right up next to my little cabinet. I had to lift her, turn her, put her on the pillow, and then she'll start kicking me in the head. She's a proper wriggler. I know if I turn to the left I'm going to get booted in the face.

Ola: I sometimes put my arm over my nose because I'm scared that she's going to break it! It's scary.

James: We should set up a night camera and see what Ella actually does at night [laughs].

Is co-sleeping a generational thing?

James: I don't remember ever sleeping in my parents' bed.

Ola: See I sort of do, because my dad used to go away for two months at a time working away, so I remember sneaking into my mum's bed. I used to get annoyed when my dad came home because I had to stay in my bed!

James: Nope, never. I remember one time, my sister and I watched the movie Chucky. We got really scared and we dragged our duvets into our mum and dad's bedroom and then fell asleep. Then my mum thought it would be funny to sit bolt upright and scream 'Chucky!' at the top of her voice! It scared the hell out of my dad because he was asleep as well. Me and my sister **** ourselves and went back in our own bed! We never slept in their room again.

My dad was very strict. He believed that you shouldn't be in bed with your parents. If he was around still, he'd be telling me now, 'Well you've made a rod for your own back now son'.

I agree there has to be a cut-off point where you don't come in with mummy and daddy anymore. Maybe when I can have a conversation with her, probably age three? I suppose we're going to have another year of this. I don't know!!

Ola: I think it naturally will happen.

James: We'll be doing a column in 15 years' time and I'll be going: 'She's still in my bed! I'm 60.'

Do you have a parenting topic or question for Ola and James to discuss? Email

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