Top Advice And Info That Will Help You Know When To Put Baby In Own Room
When you’re expecting a baby, one of the things you’ll almost always be excited about is preparing the nursery. There’s just something about buying cute baby stuff that makes all the leg cramps and nausea go away.
However, it’s interesting to know that a seemingly simple subject as when to put baby in own room could be surrounded by a lot of debates. If you’re one of the new parents who’s constantly asking yourself that question, you’re going to find this post helpful.
All About Room-Sharing
A recent study suggests that infants should sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months of their life, but on a separate surface like a bassinet or a crib. According to the study, this helps reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. This is good practice, but parents should be aware that it could directly affect sleep, both theirs and their baby’s.
The effects may also vary and may be good or bad depending on the family observing the practice. Some families find room-sharing to be an effective way to encourage baby to sleep through the night and the rest of the household to sleep better. For others, the result is the opposite.
For families who let their baby sleep close by, the advantages include, but are not limited, to the following:
It’s convenient for breastfeeding moms. Mothers who breastfeed find it easier to feed their newborn at night if he is only an arm’s reach. Room-sharing eliminates the need for the mom to get up and walk to the other room, leading to more sleep for both mom and baby. More importantly, babies who share the room with their moms get to breastfeed more even if they don’t need to wake mommy more often.
It allows parents to monitor baby easily. You’re better able to check on your baby throughout the night when you’re both sharing a room. For many parents, this helps them sleep better since the fact that they don’t have to constantly wonder if the baby is too hot or too cold or if he’s safe in the other room or not gives them peace of mind.
It helps parents quickly soothe fussiness. Newborns wake up a few times every night mostly because they need to feed, but sometimes also because they need their diapers changed or their pacifiers replaced. When you’re sharing the room with your baby, it helps you meet his needs and soothe his discomfort more quickly. As a result, it helps your baby sleep for longer stretches in the night.
While room-sharing seems to be a good idea, it has disadvantages, too:
It can become a sleep association and make it hard for baby to self-settle. Sleep associations are easy to develop and difficult to break. When your baby gets used to sleeping with you in the same room, it may cause him to have a hard time sleeping in his own room later on. Ultimately, it would mean less sleep for you and your little one.
It may cause you to check on your baby constantly, affecting your sleep. Yes, being able to see your child sleep may give you some peace of mind, but if you could hear every little noise he makes, it could also mean waking up at every movement in the room, thinking your baby needs attention.
It reduces the chance for intimacy between you and your spouse. That says it all. It’s difficult to be intimate with your partner when there’s another person in the room, be it an adult or a child. Psychology Today suggests that while the baby’s happiness and well-being is a priority, it should only be secondary to your relationship with your spouse.
Now, if you’re eager to get your sex life back, here’s a quick video showing how you can get your child sleep in his own bed in a different room:
Pros And Cons Of Letting Baby Sleep In His Own Room
Before you decide to move your baby to his own room, it’s important that you first weigh its advantages and disadvantages.
Pros of Separate Rooms
- It helps your baby learn to self-settle early on. This is probably the most important advantage of letting your child sleep in his own room. The earlier he experiences sleeping in his own room, the faster he’ll learn to let go of any sleep association and self-settle.
- If baby wakes up, only one parent needs to get up. When baby is sharing rooms with you, and he wakes up, both of your sleep will be disturbed. On the other hand, if he has his own room and he calls in the middle of the night to feed, both parents may be disturbed, but only the mother (or the father if baby is formula fed) will need to get up and attend to the child.
- It helps parents to sleep better, especially if baby is a noisy sleeper. Some babies can be noisy sleepers. If your child is such, it will help you sleep better at night if he has his own room.
Cons of Separate Rooms
- It’s harder to feed baby at night. Since your child is in the other room, it would be inconvenient for the parent assigned to feed him if he wakes up in the middle of the night. In most cases, it would mean mom or dad would have to get up and walk down the corridor all the way to baby’s room to give him his milk.
- It might be harder to soothe baby back to sleep if he wakes up. Some babies have a hard time getting back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night, especially if they know the parents are not staying nearby.
- It may cause parents to worry and not sleep well. Even with the presence of a baby monitor, some first-time parents still couldn’t sleep well, and worry about their baby sleeping in a different room.
When Is The Right Time To Put Baby In His Own Room?
Currently, there are no data available that would tell us when exactly to stop room-sharing and put baby in his own room. What we do know is that it is safe for baby to sleep in his own crib in your room for the first six months of his life as described in this study. What we also know is that most cases of SIDS occur between the first and fourth month of the baby’s life, telling us that it’s crucial to have your newborn sleep nearby at night (preferably in the same room) within that period.
Not all babies are the same, and definitely, not all families are the same. Some parents let their babies sleep with them in the room until they get to the toddler phase, which is around 12 months to 36 months. Others decide to move their babies as early as six weeks, especially if the child is a noisy sleeper. Some families let their baby sleep in a separate room right from the very beginning. That may be okay as long as the child is properly monitored throughout the night.
We always advise parents to find a method that works best for them. As the parent, you’ll have a good observation of how your little one responds to certain situations. Does your child show signs of being independent, or does he express discomfort when you’re not around even just for a short while? Pay close attention, because while some babies do well having their own rooms, others do not.
4 Signs Your Child Should Start Sleeping Separately
He's starting to learn to fall asleep without being fed first. Once your baby began to drop his nighttime feeding (we can insert published link of “how to stop nursing baby to sleep” here), you can start training him to sleep in his own room.
He’s starting to learn to sleep through the night. This is a good sign that your baby can now be transferred to a room of his own. Once he’s learned to sleep through the night without being fed or without his diaper being changed, he’ll have an easier time transitioning from room-sharing to sleeping alone.
You’re waking more often at night due to his noise. If the noise your baby is making at night is causing you to sleep less and less, it’s probably time you let him sleep in a separate room. It shouldn’t matter how old he is, but if his presence in your room is causing you sleep deprivation, then it would be better for him to sleep in his own room than deprive you of sleep, which will ultimately not be good for both of you.
He’s old enough to have another sibling. I know not everyone would agree with this reason, but it should be good enough. If you and your partner are in agreement that you want another child, then it’s best that your baby starts learning how to sleep in his own room.
What’s The Guarantee?
There’s no assurance that moving your baby to a separate room will help him sleep through the night. If your child is already a toddler, he might even decide to return to your room once in a while if he couldn’t sleep. It could even become a habit, but how to deal with it is an entirely different topic we can discuss in the future. For now, we know that despite the possible hitches, training your little one to start sleeping in his own room is worth it. Just try it and see how your child responds!
What about you? Do you room-share with your newborn or toddler? Join the conversation in the comments section below! And don’t forget to share this post to spread the word!