Milla Jovovich: How Co-Sleeping Has Strengthened Our Family Bond

05/15/2015 at 02:00 PM ET

Milla Jovovich is finding the beauty in stepping away from modern-day motherhood and going back to basics.

And there are no better role models for the simple lifestyle than mothers in third-world countries, the actress says in an interview with Romy & the Bunnies.

“I feel that the connection with children and mothers is so strong in places where there are not so many ‘things’ to get in the way,” Jovovich, 39, says.

“No electronic distraction devices, no high-tech baby equipment, just a mother carrying her little one everywhere, sharing a family bed and having the help of all the other women around to raise the baby.”

Milla Jovovich attachment parenting co-sleeping
Courtesy Milla Jovovich

Unlike other cultures, Jovovich has “always thought the Western way of raising kids was so disconnected,” especially when it comes to sleeping arrangements.

“Everyone has their cubicle at home, babies go into nurseries, little kids have their own rooms,” she explains. “You are so separated from one another!”

But the mom of two — she welcomed daughter Dashiel Edan in April — and her husband, Paul W.S. Anderson, have found the perfect solution: The couple co-sleep with their daughters, including 7½-year-old Ever Gabo.

“I feel that it’s helped us so much to stay connected as a family,” Jovovich says. “Because we share sleep at night, our daughter naturally feels very connected to us and that, in turn, makes her want to please us!”

She continues, “[Ever] trusts us and listens to what we say. There is an innate sense of respect between us all that I feel can be lacking with some of the other parents and children I see in our society.”

Jovovich is also a big believer of tending to a newborn’s needs and chose to not use the cry-it-out method with her children.

“[Ever] was never a ‘good’ sleeper, so every two or three hours I was waking up to feed her and calm her. I never wanted to let her signals go unanswered and letting her cry it out was not the way I wanted to raise my child,” she says.

“Not that I judge other methods of mothering, I just knew that it wouldn’t make me happy to allow her to be separated from us at night and cry for hours on end. And I always say, whatever you need to do to be a happy mother is the best for baby.”

Now that her firstborn has passed the baby stage, the proud mama’s bond with her “kind” daughter is stronger than ever. “It’s funny, but now that she’s 7 years old and has calmed down, she really is my little friend and buddy who ‘gets it.’ I have time to sit back and just watch her blossom,” she shares.

“To sit and draw together — without the endless ‘No, paint goes on paper, not on your face/hair/carpet/all of the above’ — is so fun because I can see how talented she is and can only imagine what her drawings will look like in a few years! It’s all so precious.”

The memories of watching her baby girl grow up only add to the excitement of the family’s newest addition. After a whirlwind of Ever’s younger years, Jovovich is looking forward to slowing down and embracing each moment with daughter Dashiel.

“I feel that it is inevitable that you never appreciate your first child as much as you should. When our daughter was a baby, I was so used to living on another schedule that I was a zombie for the first few months,” she says.

“I remember cherishing the calm moments so much, when she would be relaxed and falling asleep in my arms and I could just look at her beautiful little face and sing to her and tell her how much I loved her and give her little kisses.”

She adds, “I’m so excited to have another baby because I can actually stop and smell the roses this time around. So much of being a parent is spent running or worrying, cleaning up messes, going to doctors, making sure they eat the right food and act polite, that actually being able to step back and see how amazing your child is can be something we forget to do.”

— Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: Milla Jovovich , News , Parenting

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment

PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 34 comments

michelle on

Yeah, let’s promote something that kills basis b

Guest on

I respect Milla’s choices re co-sleeping with Dashiel, and not letting Dashiel cry it out. Data even suggests that co-sleeping of parent and baby *reduces* the risk of SIDS, as long as the newborn sleeps on its back. *BUT*… doctors strongly advise against older siblings co-sleeping with newborns. So I encourage Milla to let Ever sleep in a different bed. While Ever sleeps, Ever is much less likely than mom to be hyper-aware if she accidentally rolls on top of Dashiel. Ever is old enough to sleep in her own bed.. If Ever needs to be close by, or if Milla needs Ever to be close by, then put a separate bed in her parents’ bedroom for Ever to sleep in. But don’t have her co-sleep in the same bed as her newborn baby.

Veya on

She’s a moron…what happens if a parent rolls over on the baby? I’d rather have my child in a bassinet in my room. (I toss and turn as does my boyfriend, so co-sleeping would be a no-go.) Everyone that I know who co-slept ended up turning their kids into unruly brats.

I get it on

We do the same thing, I have a 15no and 3yr old daughters. I also nurse the 15mo old. We all share a bed and are mostly vegan they shower us with so much love. They are so well behaved and listen I wouldn’t change it. We have friends who have kids the same age, they drink soda, eat anything and are difficult to be around.

Anonymous on

Guest- Couldn’t that issue also be solved by simply not letting Ever sleep next to the baby (i.e., have the baby sleep on one side of Milla and Ever on the other or something similar)?

michelle- It kills babies only if it’s not done safely!

Blaire on

Co-sleeping is only risky when mom/dad consume alcohol, smoke, take drugs or use strong medication. You should put the baby in a separate sleeping back and position her next to your head, so the baby won’t heat up. Parents that are not under influence of any drugs won’t roll on their children.
Co-sleeping minimizes the risk of Sids, because they wake up more frequently and the mother’s breathing and heartbeat calms them. And it’s of course beneficial to the nursing mom who doesn’t have to get up 10 times a night. Co-sleeping was the normal way of sleeping for millenia. It’s crazy how the Western world starts disconnecting parents and children right after birth.

Blaire on

Oh, yes, the older sibling should never sleep next to the newborn. Always have one parent sleep between the two of them. Little children can roll on the newborn!

Becca on

Sorry, co-sleeping sounds codependent by the parents, dangerous and creepy.

Emmalee on

Cosleeping is proven to be dangerous, it doesn’t matter how you rationalize it. Respect for your parents has nothing to do with sleeping arrangements, and parents who put their babies in a crib do not let their babies ‘cry it out’. She has no idea what she’s talking about.

button on

I was always afraid to do this with my babies. My husband sleeps like a log and I don’t trust him to wake for anything (lol). But after they could climb out of their cribs, then sure they were welcome in our bed. If you spend a lot of snuggle time with young children, they become less whiney and needy and become calm and independent.

FelicityJune on

co-sleeping sounds so exciting, especially when you want to become intimate with your husband. I hope she is careful and doesn’t make her husband leave them, because he might have enough of kids in bed!!!

Anonymous on

Doesn’t she want to cuddle or make love with her husband during the night? Does she do that with all of the kids in the bed?

CC on

We had a family bed when our kids were little. We let them decide when they wanted to start sleeping alone. That is what my parents and my sisters did too. I nursed my babies through the night and it was so much easier to not have to get up every 2 or 3 hours. Some people do not like sleeping alone so why should we assume that a baby that has heard his or her mother’s heartbeat for nine months would all of a sudden prefer to be in a room all alone? Dr. Sears is one doctor who believes in cosleeping and has written books on it. Plus parents have done this years and years and still do in other countries. Do people frown on it here because the bed is seen as a place only for man and wife like some people get upset at seeing a mother nursing because breasts are seen as sexual? Of course cosleeping does have to be done correctly so the baby will be safe. I have know people that do let their babies cry it out which means the baby cries until he or she goes to sleep each night. That seems cruel to me because the baby is letting the adult know that something is needed and the adult is not giving it. It could be a cuddle. For the people that wanted to know about time with my husband….we had the whole rest of the house to ourselves. Why limit it to one room?

Liz on

Good for her prioritizing her children! I would go nuts if my kids were in my bedroom every night. When the baby wakes up, everyone including her daughter Happy Ever After wakes up? Whatever works for her family. There isn’t a right formula to raise healthy well adjusted kids. Put your kids first, don’t be their buddy you are a parent so have rules in place and mutual respect, and listen to your children. Don’t talk at them. If you show love and respect. They will copy that behavior. .

sue on

Another celebrity mom who thinks she knows it all. She must be promoting a movie. BTW, seven is a bit old to be sleeping with mom and dad.

Lexie on

While I love her dedication to her family, there is a degree of danger in letting a newborn sleep with you. I also have to wonder when the 7 year old is going to go into a bedroom of her own, and when the parents will eventually have some privacy of their own. I think that would be very awkward after awhile.

Anonymous on

Co sleeping is not recommended by health professionals due to serious safety concerns for the baby

Kat on

I loved co-sleeping with my son! As long as it’s done safely, it’s great! It made breastfeeding so much easier and that is important.

AnonIA on

I believe Mayim Bialik said the same thing…right before filing for divorce.

Kestrel on

Co-sleeping is asinine.
We all need to learn how to keep our own comosny. Teaching your kid to always be around someone, being together is the BEST thing, deprives a child of the chance to play alone, to be alone with yourself. As a child, I loved to write and draw and talk to my “friends”. I would never do that with others around. Not everything needs to be encouraged and applauded, that’s fake and kids know it. Yes, spending time with your kid is essential – I breastfed and stay home with our kids who are 17, 13 and 4 – but they found themselves to be comfortable in their own space. I wouldn’t even have them share rooms or bathrooms, for that matter. Listening to a 4 year old having a tea party in their bedroom as she talks to her stuffed cow is wonderful to hear – all that creativity! But when I join her, it’s different. It becomes MY job to interact with her. I’m not ignoring her and she can’t ignore me. There’s time for both things. I wonder why more people don’t take this as a shot against working mothers? It’s essentially what she’s saying: leaving your kids behind is wrong.
We will be alone in our lives a lot. Let the kids learn to be their own source of entertainment. The last thing we need is to have more kids needing to be amused and looking for attention. That’s how you get a Kardashian.

seabot on

Anonymous, you are completely incorrect. Cosleeping *IS* recommended by professionals, assuming you do it safely and it’s a mutual agreement with both spouses. It’s been proven to promote bonding and independence. And it’s only unsafe when not done correctly.

seabot on

And Kestrel, how did you get that this means the children aren’t/won’t ever be on their own? I got to listen to plenty of tea parties in the other room with my now 7-year-old daughter. Cosleeping didn’t eliminate that. You said it yourself – there’s time for both things. Calling another person’s parenting choice “asinine” is pretty cruel on your part.

liltexan on

I would for an agency which protects children and I have to STRONGLY discourage co-sleeping. I have witnessed countless cases in which a Mom who is co-sleeping with an infant has rolled over on and smothered the baby. This is a very DANGEROUS practice and I cannot stress enough how important it is for babies to be in their on sleep space without blankets, pillow or toys.

kristina on

Anyone who is a parent has no right to judge her. There is a way to co sleep and have it be safe. I also agree with her on the no cry it out method. I don’t like it and never did it with my child. She has a good approach to parenting in my books!

seabot on

liltexan, then your agency is incredibly negligent in reporting these incidents, because there are very, very few recorded incidents of a parent rolling onto a baby unless drugs or alcohol are involved.

Deborah on

I co sleep with my boys…and it’s safe if you and your husband are light sleepers. I put my babies on their sleeping pad with sides and position it near my headboard/head area. WE all slept better and stayed asleep longer.

Laurie on

Wow..love her way.

Dee on

We co-slept with our first baby and once our twins came along we said “never again”. As much as I love my children, my bed is for me and my hubby, and an occasional sick or scared kid, but I would never co sleep again. I didn’t sleep well, My marriage suffered, and quite honestly our baby started sleeping better once he was in his own bed. To each their own, but it’s definitely not for me!

Ariel on

Love this article.

Pam on

Co-sleeping is nothing new. Years ago many parents co-sleep with their kids as long as keep it safe.

Anonymous on

I think it’s important to keep culture differences in mind here, too. Milla is from the Ukraine originally and they likely have a slightly different way of child-rearing than we have here in the U.S.! 🙂

Anonymous on

Um her old daughter is 7 years old kinda little old co-sleeping with her parents.

mypiecesandbits on

Man, the mommy wars really are never going to stop are they? There really is a simple solution here. If you agree with co-sleeping and it works for you, do it. If you disagree with the practice, don’t. There is no need to verbally bash other women, call each other names, and be mean. Just accept that everyone is going to feel something different. I’m not right and you’re not wrong, its whatever works for each individual person.

Bee on

Having the baby in the bedroom, absolutely. Having the baby in the bed?? Bad idea.