I think a new mom’s mind fills with questions about child rearing from the moment of conception.
One of the most frequently asked is, “When do you put your baby in their own room?”
I wanted to do what would give us both the best night’s sleep possible and keep the baby safest.
The short answer: wait until the baby reaches at least six months of age to move them to their own room.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Let’s face it. SIDS is scary. Every year more than 5,500 babies die from it in the US. Doctors call it a diagnosis of exclusion. That means it’s the UFO of baby death causes. They call it SIDS when they can find no other cause of death. So, I read up on it at the National SIDS Resource Center. Most cases of SIDS occur between a baby’s first and sixth month of life. Although they have yet to pinpoint the cause, pediatricians have noted a few things that lower a baby’s SIDS risk. Babies should:
- sleep on their back,
- sleep only on a firm mattress,
- sleep in the same room as their parents.
Note that this refers to room sharing, not bed sharing. An infant sleeping with adults on an adult bed presents a new set of issues involving potential suffocation. The best suggestion I found was to set up the bassinet or crib next to my bed for the first six months. This let the baby feel my presence and feel safe. It let me respond quickly to hunger cries and made breastfeeding easier. It also meant that from the first night home, the baby slept in her own crib.
Better Sleep for All
Sleeping in their own bassinet or crib makes a positive difference, as it turns out, so if you ask yourself “When can babies sleep in their crib?” like I did, the answer is – from day one. That doesn’t mean they’ll sleep through the night. That just doesn’t happen for about the first six months. Sorry. Babies naturally wake up every few hours to feed. But, according to Time, a recent worldwide study on 30,000 infants helped uncover ways to help babies fall asleep more easily and get more restful sleep. (Hey, that means mom and dad will, too.) Dr. Jodi Mindell, the associate director of the Sleep Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and professor of psychology at Saint Joseph’s University, conducted the study that found babies sleep better in their own bed at least three feet from their parents. Their best sleep comes when they can move into their own room. Mindell suggests creating a cuddling and nurturing routine before a baby’s bedtime, but putting the baby down in their crib or bassinet while still awake.
Moving My Baby to Their Own Room
So, since it turns out babies do sleep better in their own room, I decided to transition her to it at seven months. Again, I turned to experts for advice because, honestly, my friends answers were all over the place and not that helpful. Also, some of them let their kids run the show and that is not how I was reared. I needed to find out what would actually be most healthful for my child, not what was easiest for me. To me, parenthood means putting the child first, and an infant or toddler does not know what is best for themselves. I was ready to answer “When do you put your baby in their own room?” for myself.
I made her room cheery and cozy, as it suggested. I started by moving her crib into the room and letting her lay in it for a few minutes at a time, a few times throughout the day. I always kept a favorite bedtime toy near her. This let her get used to being in the new room in her crib at a more comfortable time. I was in view, but sitting in the rocking chair. The articles I’d read said not use stimulating toys since the idea is to associate the crib in the new room only with sleep. At night, she slept in her bassinet next to our bed. After one week of this, I let her nap in her new room during the day for another week. She didn’t fuss too much, but I had followed more expert advice and kept her playing all day. She was so tired, she wanted to sleep practically anywhere. Finally, after a week and a half of successful day naps, she slept in her own room at night. As Baby Center suggested, I put a baby monitor in her room and the other on my nightstand.
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At seventh months, she got her own room and my husband and I reclaimed ours. Everyone sleeps better and she might get a little brother or sister one day.