Should my baby sleep in their own room?
Considering moving baby into own room?
Many parents choose to transition their baby to their own room around 6 months of age when the risk of SIDS reduces slightly. Most parents will move their child at some point before their first birthday. Some families choose to room share for longer and in the end, it’s a unique decision for each family.
It’s easy to compare our babies sleep to other babies! Don’t be swayed by other NCT buddies or baby groups and what they’re doing! This is a really personal decision for every family and let’s be comfortable and feel ready with our decision when moving our baby to their own bedroom
Our son, Charlie, had a range of issues from birth, moving him to his own room at six months wasn’t possible as we wouldn’t have been able to keep him safe. We moved him closer to a year, when his health improved. Equally, I needed to be in a better place psychologically to trust he would sleep safely and consequently allow my own body to relax into sleep!
Do babies sleep better in their own room?
Well, yes and no. Honestly, it depends on how your baby slept before you made the transition and even thought about moving your baby!
The first six months can be a bit of a rollercoaster in terms of baby sleep. We can have days and nights mixed up, multiple night feeds, issues with gas, teeth, learning to roll (not to mention the four month regression!). Needless to say, after baby arrives, sleep will look very different for quite a while!
Some babies fall into great sleep habits and routines pretty easily, others take time and require more support from their care givers.
If your baby sleeps well prior to the move, then they’ll probably continue to sleep well in a separate room! There may be a little transition period in between, but they shift will be easier than a baby who is waking multiple times and won’t sleep for long periods.
Equally, what’s the current set up? Are they in their own sleep space or are you bed sharing? You may find it’s easier to transition from bed sharing to a separate sleep space and then transition to a separate room.
There is research that reports we sleep better (measured by longer stretches) in separate rooms. However, as with most sleep related research there’s points open for debate! In short, if we are in the same room, we may be more likely to wake each other. The baby may wake when they hear a parent coming to bed at night. Or, the adults may respond (too) quickly! When in fact, had the baby been given a few moments they may actually have fallen back to sleep by themselves.
Some babies are particularly restless sleepers. Shimmying, shuffling, squeeking etc. That may keep the parents awake, but equally some adults are like this too and it may be the reverse.
How can I help my baby transition to their own room?
Let’s spend time in their room playing in the day at first. It can help them recognise the environment and it can start to feel more familiar.
Perhaps perform nappy changes and other tasks in their own room. If you have a chair in the room then take a seat for a bit, read some stories, and feeding can be a great way of spending time together.
You can then continue to build up time in their room, and do one or more of these suggestions:
- Start performing the bedtime routine in their new room. Then settle them for sleep in the same room as yourself.
- You can move their new cot from the nursery into the shared room so they become more familiar with that in your room first.
- Daytime naps: Try one nap a day in their new room. You can try the first nap of the day. You may need to support your baby to fall asleep if they notice their new environment. If they do well, then increase the number of naps.
- Try continuing on from the bedtime routine and settle them for the first part of their night sleep in their own nursery. You can transfer them to the parents room when you go to bed at night or after their first waking.
I’d like to continue room sharing and/or co-sleeping
Awesome! There is absolutely NO pressure to move your child to their own room. In fact for many parts of the world, a bed share or room sharing with babies is actually the normality.
For many families, this suits better for them as they can continue to meet their child’s needs at night (such as breastfeeding and night feeds) without going too far!
As I mentioned earlier, if your child has additional needs, as my son did, and a transition would put them at risk then don’t consider this an option right now. You can move your baby to their own room at any point when it feels right for your family.
If your child isn’t ready to night wean or you wish to continue breastfeeding at night for comfort then you may wish to consider room sharing for a few months more to make the night feeding feel a little easier. However, some families will also have a set up in their baby’s room, such as a single bed near their cot as a halfway transition.
What you need to consider when moving baby into own room
When you’ve decided your baby outgrows their current place with you, you may start thinking it’s time to move your baby. If you feel ready, here are some points to consider.
- Think about creating a comfortable temperature in the room. 18-20 degrees is best. You may want to check the temperature in the room during the night too. Many monitors now have thermometers on them. If not, try this groegg.
- Master the pre-sleep routine in their own room rather than your own. This will help make the transition to the cot more seamless, but also, they won’t be ‘leaving’ their own sleep environment for a new one which may feel unfamiliar.
- Try letting your baby nap in their new bed for a few days first, just to build up the familiarity with the cot.
- Think about the placement of the baby monitor in the room so you can check on them at night and see if they need your assistance.
- Wondering whether to leave bedroom doors open? This is very much a personal decision. If the hallway will let a lot of light into the room then you may consider closing the door to keep a nice dark sleep space, or you may want to leave the doors ajar to feel more connected and hear your baby more easily. Up to you.
Q. Can a newborn baby sleep in their own room?
There’s currently a pretty worldwide consensus that it’s best to be room sharing with young babies for at least the first six months. This helps lower the risk of SIDS (cot death) and therefore it’s what I recommend all families do.
Q. I’m worried about SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome), is it best to continue to room share?
There’s excellent advice on keeping your baby safe that is produced by a variety of organisations including the NHS and the Lullaby Trust. These organisations recommend room sharing until at least six months of age. You may choose to room share for longer.
There are many other bits of great guidance for reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Check out my other blog post on safer sleeping arrangements here.
Q. When to put baby in own room (UK)?
After the first six months, you may be considering the best time to transition your baby from their moses basket into their new nursery. This is a very individual decision and some families are more than ready to move their baby and others not so much!
Q. Can newborn babies sleep in their own room with a parent present?
Yes! Sleep should be supervised, so if you are present, say during a nap, then it’s a great way for them to become more familiar with that space.
Feeling ready to make the move? Or do you want to dive deeper into a specific topic?
Help! I need more support
Wondering how much sleep children need? If you can sleep train a newborn, How to help your child fall asleep or transition from a swaddle to a sleeping bag? When to move your baby to a big bed? Gemma blogs on all aspects of sleep! Check out her free advice or get in touch for personalised support.