When to Move Your Baby Into Their Own Room
Updated: Jul 11
There is so much noise out there about what’s right and what’s wrong when it comes to sleep…and parenting…
We always approach everything from the mindset of what direction the research points to, as well as prioritizing the uniqueness of each family’s needs and situation.
As usual, we are going to do the same and answer some of the frequently asked questions about this topic, like, “When should I move my baby into their own room?” and “Is 2 months too early to move my baby into their nursery?” or “Will it increase the risk of SIDS if my baby is in their own room?”
Ashley moved her children into their own rooms between 6-8 weeks of age, and Katelyn, around 4-months old, respectively. Let’s shed some light on our decisions…
Room Sharing Recommendations from the AAP
Safety is always at the forefront of our minds when it comes to our children’s sleep – and, according to their statements and conservative positioning) the same goes for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Here’s what Dr. Rachel Moon (2021) of the AAP says about room-sharing:
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. 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.
All in all, room-sharing seems to be the way to go, especially those first few weeks and months when your baby needs to feed more frequently throughout the night and may also need more help from you when it comes to comforting and soothing. It also offers a protective measure when it comes to SIDS.
What Research Says About Room Sharing and Moving Your Baby to Their Own Room
Now, we aren’t ones to ever advise against the recommendation, but we want to equip you with the evidence that has been collected since this recommendation of room-sharing up to 12-months was put out to give you some options to consider since room-sharing isn’t always the most ideal or the best situation for all families, and, quite honestly, there is too little evidence that shows benefits of room-sharing during the 6-12 month range. In fact, the opposite was true in a recent study…keep reading!
WHAT MAKES ROOM-SHARING SO DIFFICULT?
The heightened maternal instinct to awaken at every noise coming from the crib
Noisy sleeping babies – causing more night wakings for mom (and maybe dad) – even though your baby may still be asleep
More movement (and noise) from the bassinet or crib as your baby becomes a bit more mobile
Decline in maternal mental health due to multiple night wakings over the course of time
Around 12-months of age, separation anxiety peaks, so changing rooms at this time can be extremely difficult for the child
In a public health article from NPR in June of 2021, Tara Heale reports on a recent study published in the academic journal, Pediatrics, where author Dr. Ian M. Paul, and well-respected and renowned pediatric sleep expert, Dr. Jodi Mindell, weigh in on the topic of room-sharing.
According to the study, Paul (2017) concluded that “Room-sharing infants were four times more likely to end up in their parents’ bed during the night than those sleeping independently by 4 months and 9 months old. The odds of risky items being in babies’ sleep environments, such as pillows, blankets and stuffed animals, also doubled for room-sharing infants at 4 months old.”
For reference, every baby is different. Some may sleep very well while room sharing with their parent(s), and consequently, so may the parents. If it’s working, GREAT! No need to change things.
However, if you find that your baby is one of those noisy sleepers, and you hear every little peep they make throughout the night, and it’s starting to affect your wellbeing…well, then…you’ve got some evidence to fall back on that it may be in your family’s best interest to make a change.
What You *Should* Consider When Making This Decision
Think of the whole SIDS thing like this – room sharing offers a protective factor, similar to wearing a seatbelt in the car. Not wearing a seatbelt doesn’t increase your chances of being in a car accident. Not room sharing doesn’t increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
THINK OF OTHER PROTECTIVE FACTORS YOU MAY ALSO HAVE IN PLACE:
Laying your baby on their back to sleep
Dressing baby appropriately for sleep
Ensuring adequate airflow in the bedroom
Making sure nothing else in is the crib or bassinet with your baby
Using only a tightly fitted sheet and no other bedding in the crib or bassinet
Not smoking during or after pregnancy
In our personal experiences, we’ve learned that when we can be more well-rested, we are better moms, and able to tune into our babies better when they really need us…not just when they’re making extra noise at night!
Reported by Heale, Dr. Jodi Mindell gives us something more to think about:
“We want babies and parents to get a good night’s sleep because we know that will affect infant safety, infant development and family wellbeing,” Mindell says. “It’s a balance of trying to make sure babies are safe, everyone’s getting enough sleep and everyone’s developing appropriately.”
In other words, a question to ask yourself, is: How sustainable is room-sharing if it affects infant safety, infant development, and your family’s wellbeing?
When all is said and done, you must make the best decision for your family, and we are here to support you through it!
This Was Helpful – Thanks For Breaking It Down!
You’re welcome! We hope you found this information helpful. Please note too, that we ALWAYS recommend consulting with your child’s pediatrician before making decisions about sleep first.
If you liked the way this information was presented, or if you feel empowered to make the right choice for *your* family, we have more where that came from! We’d love for you to become a part of our sleep consultant community – join us today and take our course, the Sleep Consultant Academy. We present infant and child sleep in a way that’s science-backed and research-based, allowing you to learn how to educate families while helping them reach their sleep goals. Check out the rest of our website for more information.
Haelle, T. (2017, June 5). Babies sleep better in their own rooms after 4 months, study finds. NPR. Retrieved October 18, 2021, from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/06/05/531582634/babies-sleep-better-in-their-own-rooms-after-4-months-study-finds.
Moon, R. Y. (2021, June 21). How to keep your sleeping baby safe: Aap policy explained. HealthyChildren.org. Retrieved October 18, 2021, from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/A-Parents-Guide-to-Safe-Sleep.aspx.
Paul, I. M., Hohman, E. E., Loken, E., Savage, J. S., Anzman-Frasca, S., Carper, P., Marini, M. E., & Birch, L. L. (2017, July 1). Mother-infant room-sharing and sleep outcomes in the insight study. Pediatrics. Retrieved October 18, 2021, from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/140/1/e20170122.