When Should You Stop Sharing A Room With Your Baby?
As a new parent, you want to know that your baby is safe and sound all night long! If your little one has been sleeping in a cradle or bassinet next to your bed, sooner or later you’ll ask yourself when you should stop sharing a room with your baby.
Most parents share their room with their infant for the first few months because it’s both safe and convenient. But at some point, your little one will move out of your room and graduate to their own crib.
When should that happen? And what are the factors that go into making that decision? Newton Baby's experts are here to help you answer those important questions!
Let’s start by looking at why room-sharing is recommended in the first place, and then we’ll go over when your baby should make the move to their nursery and how to make that transition as easy as possible!
The AAP Guidelines On Sharing A Room With Your Baby
When it comes to making your new baby your new roommate, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following:
“Room share—keep baby's sleep area in the same room where you sleep for the first 6 months or, ideally, for the first year. Place your baby's crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard in your bedroom, close to your bed.”
Why is this recommended?
They continue to say that “the AAP recommends room sharing because it can decrease the risk of SIDS by as much as 50% and is much safer than bed sharing. In addition, room sharing will make it easier for you to feed, comfort, and watch your baby.”
Sharing a room with your baby is not only convenient, but it’s also considered part of baby sleep safety! Other safe-sleep guidelines include:
- Don’t let your baby sleep in your bed
- Put your baby to sleep on a firm surface
- Put your baby to sleep on their back for naps and nighttime
- Keep loose bedding, pillows, and toys out of the crib
Read more about safe sleep for infants here.
To sum up, keeping your baby safe and sound all night includes sharing your room with them for a while. But, eventually, your little one will need to move into the cute nursery you’ve prepared just for them!
When that should happen is different for each baby and each family.
How To Decide When To Stop Sharing A Room With Your Baby
Moving your sweet baby down the hall to their own room is a big deal! It’s no surprise that you may feel stressed about deciding when to do it.
Most babies sleep in a cradle or bassinet in their parents’ room until they graduate to their standard-sized crib. That switch usually goes hand-in-hand with moving from the parents’ room into the nursery, although it doesn’t have to if the crib can fit in your bedroom.
As we said, the AAP recommends room-sharing for at least six months. But that’s not a hard and fast rule, and some families move their little one to the nursery before they reach the half-year mark.
In addition to the safe sleep guidelines mentioned above, deciding on the right time to make the transition usually depends on a few factors: your baby’s weight, height, and physical capabilities and your family’s needs.
All of that being said, let’s take a look at four of the factors that go into making the decision.
Your Baby’s Weight
Cradles and bassinets usually have a weight limit somewhere between 10 and 20 pounds. Check your baby’s bed for the specific number.
Once your little one weighs in at that limit, it’s time to move them into their crib. If their crib only fits in the nursery, then the decision is made! Time to move to the nursery.
Your Baby’s Height
Your little one might still be under the weight limit for the cradle or bassinet, but if they are especially long and lanky, they might quickly grow too tall for it!
If your little one looks cramped, that’s another sign that it’s time to move them to their crib and, possibly, the nursery.
Your Baby’s Physical Capabilities
Even if your little one is still small enough for the bassinet or cradle, when they can sit up or roll over, they’ll need to start sleeping in their crib.
Once they start to sit and roll, it’s no longer safe for them to sleep in their bassinet because they could easily fall out, tip it over, or roll over and have difficulty breathing.
Your Family’s Needs
Even when a little one still fits snugly in their bassinet and isn’t rolling over or sitting up, some families choose to move them to the nursery anyway.
What are some of the considerations? Maintaining a bedtime routine, ease of breastfeeding, sleep quality, and parental intimacy, just to name a few.
In an article entitled Room sharing with your baby may help prevent SIDS—but it means everyone gets less sleep, Claire McCarthy, MD says:
“Room sharing can help prevent SIDS and support breastfeeding, that’s clear… At the same time, if room sharing means that parents aren’t getting any sleep because they are woken by every baby whimper and squeak, that’s not good for anybody — and if the parents’ relationship is suffering significantly because they don’t feel that they can or should be intimate near the baby, that’s not good for anybody either.”
As you can see, deciding when to stop sharing a room with your baby is not always straightforward! If your baby has outgrown their bassinet and the crib doesn’t fit in your room, the transition to their own room will happen naturally.
Otherwise, take your family’s needs as well as the AAP recommendations into consideration and talk with your pediatrician about the best approach.
Last but not least, if you’ve already decided to go ahead with the big move, we’ve got a few tips to make it as smooth as possible for everyone!
Tips For Transitioning Your Baby To Their Nursery
Choose A Safe Mattress
If you know that your baby will be safe in their crib, you’ll have more peace of mind about the transition from your room to the nursery. Make sure your little one will sleep on a firm, breathable mattress, like Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress.
Made with our Wovenaire® Core (90% air and 10% food-grade polymer), our mattress is breathable, which means if your little one rolls over during the night, they can breathe straight through the mattress!
It’s also independently tested and certified for low chemical emissions according to Greenguard's Gold Standard. No toxic off-gassing here!
Install A Video Monitor
With your baby next to your bed, you could simply roll over to check on them. Once your baby starts sleeping in the nursery, maintain that same peace of mind by installing a video monitor.
This will allow you to still keep an eye on them without getting out of your own bed!
Sit In The Nursery
When your baby starts sleeping in the nursery, your comforting presence might help them get used to their new surroundings. To let your little one know you are still close by, sit in the nursery with them while they doze off.
Each night, sit a bit farther away from the crib or decrease the amount of time you sit with them until…voila! They’re falling asleep with no problem.
Spend Time In The Nursery
Before you stop room-sharing, spend time with your baby in the nursery to help them get used to it. Share activities they enjoy, like playing or reading, so they have good associations with the room.
Also, consider doing their bedtime routine in the nursery while still putting them to sleep in the bassinet. This will help prepare them for bedtime in their own room.
Teach Your Baby To Self-Soothe
When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, they might be confused to find that they’re in their nursery and not in your room.
Because of this, it’s important to teach your little one how to put themselves back to sleep — without you!
To help your baby learn to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own, don’t rock them to sleep. Instead, put your baby in the crib when they’re drowsy but not fast asleep. This gives them the chance to learn how to fall asleep on their own in their crib.
Another way to help them along is to pat them instead of picking them up when they cry in the middle of the night. Put a reassuring hand on your baby to let them know you’re there, but avoid holding them every time they fuss.
Sleep Tight, One And All
Since you’re used to sharing your room and having your baby nearby, deciding to move them into their own nursery is a big deal!
The right time to do it depends on your baby and your family. Take into consideration the factors we mentioned in this article: your baby’s height, weight, and physical capabilities and your family’s needs.
Then, when it’s time to make the big transition, give yourself peace of mind by putting your little one to sleep on a Newton Baby Crib Mattress and installing a video monitor in the nursery.
Soon, you and your baby will both be sleeping tight in your own rooms!