Sharing a room with your baby for the first few months is convenient and often provides a source of comfort for parents. It also follows the official recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which states that sleeping in the same room as the baby—but not the same bed—for the first six months can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
That being said, sharing a room with your baby comes with a few downsides, one of which is less sleep for both baby and parents. If you’re thinking about transitioning the baby to their own room sooner than recommended, you should talk with your baby’s doctor first to make sure that baby is ready to sleep alone.
Ultimately, you need to do what’s best for you and your family. But once you’re finally ready to make the big switch, here are a few helpful tips to make the transition a safe and seamless process.
1. Create a Safe Sleeping Environment
First things first: You should make sure that your baby’s sleeping environment is safe and comfortable. Baby’s crib should follow U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines and be free of clutter. Pick a tight-fitting mattress that fits snugly in the baby’s crib and choose your favorite baby girl bedding for additional comfort and style. Remember that you should never leave pillows, toys, quilts and comforters inside the crib, as these can be a suffocation hazard.
2. Get a Baby Monitor
For some parents, purchasing a baby monitor may seem unnecessary—especially if you live in a small home or apartment and your baby is sleeping in the room next to yours. But if the baby’s room is located far away from your room or you’re simply anxious about them sleeping solo, a quality baby monitor can give you some much-needed peace of mind.
When shopping for a baby monitor, choose one with high-quality video and audio so you can see and hear your baby no matter where you are in your home. Don’t forget to place the monitor several feet away from the crib so that it’s well out of reach from baby’s eager hands!
3. Spend Time with Baby in the Nursery
Transitioning the baby to his own room is something that shouldn’t be rushed. Keep in mind that this is a BIG adjustment for your little one. Take things slow and steady by gradually increasing the time you spend in the nursery with your baby. Get him familiar with his new environment by changing his diapers in there, playing with him on the floor and using the room for nap time at least once daily.
4. Establish a Regular Bedtime Routine
Establishing a regular bedtime routine can greatly improve your baby’s quality of sleep, as well as yours. To help the baby get ready for bed, create a nightly ritual that helps your little one associate certain activities with sleep: give the baby an evening bath, dress him in cozy footed pajamas and read him a bedtime story. Eventually, your baby will recognize the cues for sleep and will have less trouble lulling themselves into a peaceful slumber.
5. Get the Temperature Right
Like adults, babies sleep best when the temperature isn’t too hot for them. It’s also a safety issue. Experts from the National Institutes of Health say that warm temperatures and too much clothing can also increase the risk of SIDS.
To ensure that your baby is safe and comfortable during the night, keep your thermostat between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. During the warmer months, dress the baby in a comfortable Onesies® Brand Bodysuit or a lightweight sleeper. For the colder months, a warm sleeper or a wearable blanket are safe options.
6. Muffle Noise and Light
Is your baby a light sleeper? Try to find ways to muffle (but not completely block) noise and light while she sleeps. For instance, you can hang blackout curtains to block the sun from her room. Dimmable lights in the nursery are another great option that will be useful for late-night feedings. You can also use a white noise machine to mask noises that might disturb her sleep, such as car horns or the living room TV.
7. Try to Relax
We know—easier said than done, right? But honestly, transitioning your baby to her own room is usually much tougher on the parents than it is on the baby. If you’re having a difficult time with the transition, it’s OK to sleep in the baby’s room for the first few nights. Once you’re ready to let your baby sleep solo, try to resist the urge to check on her. Unless she’s fussing for you, just let her be.
Encouraging a Deeper, Safer Slumber
All babies must transition to their own rooms eventually. Even though babies often adjust to this transition far better than parents anticipate, feel free to reach out to your baby’s doctor for advice. With helpful guidance from a baby sleep expert, both you and your baby will begin sleeping more soundly.