Wonder about room sharing with baby or where should your newborn sleep? These tips help you decide about where to put your little ones bassinet.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I decided she’d sleep in her own crib in her own room from day one.
Night one my husband and I awoke to a gurgling noise (that sounded like choking to us). We ran in to see her with this dazed unfocused expression. I picked her up quickly and she caught her breath.
“Must have been the mucus,” the midwife said.
Must have been my heart plummeting to the hard earth below me, I thought, and quickly decided she could sleep in her crib with me in the room.
Where should a newborn sleep?
Deciding where should a newborn sleep is a big decision. You want to be close enough to feed easily and monitor your baby, but far enough away that every single move of theirs (or yours) doesn’t wake the other.
Plus, you want to make sure that even with room sharing, baby is as safe as can be.
Here are some common places newborn babies sleep:
- Temporary cribs/bassinets somewhere in the parents room
- Co-sleeping crib at mom’s bedside
- In baby’s own nursery in a crib (with a baby monitor, likely)
- In the family bed (see the AAP’s safe sleep guidelines)
Pros to room sharing with baby
Considering room sharing with your newborn for a while? Here are some of the pros to this choice.
⭐Facilitates ease of breastfeeding
If you are nursing (here are some breastfeeding schedules) then having baby nearby means you can respond to baby and feed without baby, or you, fully waking up.
If you have a swaddle that opens from the bottom so you can diaper change – like this one – then you can even change baby’s diaper while baby is half asleep.
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⭐Prevents night crying that wakes up the whole house
When the baby wakes to cry, if you are nearby you can feed the baby and put him back to sleep before the whole house has woken up.
I’ve found that when I feed the baby in the evening before the cry has reached full-fledged high volume, the baby sort of feeds while sleeping and it means there is no issue with the baby going back to sleep.
⭐Helps mom feed then return to sleep easily
Feeding in the night, though it lasts only a short while, is exhausting. If the baby is in the same room as me, I feed him quickly laying down, doze off, put him back when the feed is over and then we’re both back to sleep very quickly.
If I’ve had to go to another room, sit straight up in a chair for 15 minutes and then walk back across the house. By that time I’m awake enough to have difficulty returning to sleep.
⭐You’re close enough to check on baby without frequent waking
I am a habitual “is my baby breathing” checker. When they are very young, until about 6 months or so, I need to be sure they are breathing and I need to be sure a lot. With the baby in my room I hear the little noises so, when I roll over and the thought crosses my mind, I feel at ease.
Even if I do get up to check it’s close, I feel the tummy then go back to bed without drama. After one of my children was born and I was experiencing a lot of postnatal anxiety, I checked every hour or so. That obsession has gone, but room sharing still brings comfort that the baby is near.
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⭐Baby is tucked away with you for the first few months
Everyone jokes that my newborns never see the light of day and they are more or less right. And that’s okay with me. Sleep begets sleep and by the time babies are 3 or 4 months and very alert, they can easily be transitioned into their own rooms.
Keeping them in my room feels like they are being protected in a refuge and special place of privilege. It lasts such a short while, I love having them there.
Where exactly should baby sleep in the parents room?
Truly, whatever works best for your family and your baby is the way to go. Babies often do well to sleep in the room with their mothers for the first few months of life.
Later, when baby becomes alert to your movements and suffers sleep disruption as a result, it may be time to move them to their own room. Or a shared room with siblings. Once you’ve made that room safe for sharing, of course.
I think whatever method benefits the baby’s sleep habits and your survival habits must be considered. Here are some options for baby sleeping in your own room.
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In bed bassinets
In bed bassinets are bassinets that are small and compact, designed to go your own bed. This will work if you have a large bed or – if you have a smaller bed – and sleep alone.
Of course, it goes without saying, this would not be safe for a twin bed as you may roll over and push it off.
Bedside sleepers or co-sleepers
Now, these are rather new in use. Co-sleepers are essentially cribs made to attach to the bed or sit right beside it so you have easy access to baby, but baby isn’t sharing your bed.
Cribs for the parents room (permanent or non-permanent)
Of course, you can put up a proper crib in your bedroom. Or, if your room is large enough you can use a pack and play in your room as a more temporary solution.
You get a bedside sleeper, or a crib and put them in your room, preferably within arm’s reach.
As long as you want! Typically by around 6 months or so, most “main stream parents” transition their baby to their own rooms. At that point, the risk of SIDS has lowered drastically and the survival benefits to room sharing are minimized. After 6 months on, it’s all preference.
Yes, you can! You will, however, want to get thick blackout blinds so baby naps well and doesn’t wake up at the crack of dawn.
A newborn can sleep pretty much anywhere. The AAP suggests 6 months minimum to help prevent SIDS.
Some babies prefer to sleep beside mom. Why wouldn’t they? If you practice safe bed sharing (of which there are many things to do for modern parents’ beds to be safe) then that’s fine. If you find you don’t sleep well that way, you can begin teaching baby to room share without bed sharing.
That depends. If they are getting enough rest, then they will be contented. If mom is getting enough rest, she is contented. Now, if baby is in the bed and sleeps well enough, but has frequent night wakings then mom will not sleep well, and things will have to be adjusted.
You begin a transition and put baby into their own side sleeper or crib. Keep baby within arm’s reach so you can pat and shush to settle.