The topic on where should a baby sleep has always sparked some levels of debate from parents and experts alike. Some infants may want to have more sleeping closeness during their first months of life. Other babies tend to feel the same need later on while they go through the normal phase of nighttime separation anxiety.
Whatever the parents decide on where their newborn should sleep, it’s always best to consider the pros and cons that can be expected after arriving at a decision. If making a decision seems tougher than it should be, it may help a bit to think that the best place where a baby should sleep is wherever all family members sleep the best.
The truth about room-sharing
The practice of room-sharing refers to placing babies to sleep in bassinets that are near to the parents’ own beds. This means that both the baby’s bassinet and the parents’ bed are in one big room.
At times, it can also mean that the baby sleeps in a crib that is placed inside the nursery room while the parent sleeps in that same room.
Room-sharing should not be confused with co-sleeping which then refers to allowing the baby to share the bed with his parents.
Room-sharing can bring several advantages to both the baby and the parents.
- It’s breastfeeding-friendly. For a parent who feels joy every time she breastfeeds her baby, it would be nice to know that since her baby is close at hand, she need not worry about getting up and walking down the hall to satisfy her hungry baby. Night time feeds become so much faster and within arms’ reach.
- It’s easier to monitor the baby. If you’re concerned about SIDS, having your baby in the same room as you can allow you to easily monitor him throughout the night. You don’t have to wonder endlessly on whether your baby is too hot or too cold or if he is still breathing. You also tend to sleep better since you get some peace of mind knowing that you have constant access to your baby.
- It helps solve nighttime fussiness. While it is true that the major reason why a baby wakes up at night time is because he feels hungry, there are other reasons that parents should comfort their baby about. Babies also wake up at night because of feelings of discomfort, the need to get their pacifiers replaced, or they are experiencing sleep regression. Since your baby is just near, you can easily comfort him.
However, some parents believe that room-sharing is not a good idea after all. These are some of the reasons why room-sharing may not be good for both you and your baby.
- Your sleep gets disturbed by the extra noise. Babies make a lot of different types of noise even while they are asleep. Some of these “noises” that can disturb your sleep include the sound of a hiccup, a sigh or a grunt. At the same time, your baby can also hear every sound that you make, whether you’re snoring or changing your sleeping position which creates some noise on the bed.
- You may feel the strong urge to check on your baby constantly. Since you can hear every sound that your baby makes, you would always want to check on him and then you find yourself doing it all the time. This new “habit” can affect both your sleep and your baby’s. Most of the time, the baby makes sighs and grunts while he’s fast asleep. If you check on your baby, there is a risk that you would wake him up.
- It can promote poor sleeping habits in your baby. Choosing the best way to soothe your baby should be something that can bring long-term solution as opposed to short-term. If you constantly soothe your baby’s crying by feeding him or putting his pacifier back, your baby can develop major sleep associations. This means that he may take feeding and any other soothing moves as a cue to sleeping. As a result, both you and your baby get less amount of sleep.
When is the best time for a baby to be allowed to sleep in his room?
First, parents need to know if their baby is ready to sleep in his own room.
Normally, babies who are in their first six months of life are better off sleeping in the same room as their parents. Some parents prepare to transition their baby from sleeping in their room to sleeping in a different room by doing it gradually. They start by placing the baby’s cot to the other end of the room. After a few nights, they move the cot a bit further away by perhaps placing it along the hallway. Finally, they move the baby’s cot in his room.
One of the things that can help ease the transition is to help your baby develop a good night time routine. This can include giving him a warm bath or changing him in his pajamas.
Put your baby to bed when you see him start feeling drowsy but still awake.
Remember to also put your little one to bed at the same time and in the same place each night. If, for instance, your routine gets affected because of a vacation or a holiday, don’t be worried. Simply go back to the old routine as soon as you can.
You can also try allowing your baby to take a nap in his room first while he learns to become more acquainted with his new surroundings. Once you see that your baby has that feeling of security even while being in a new environment, then you can say that he’s ready to be on his own while he sleeps.
Try moving your little one to his own room when you’re free to stay home the next day. Or you can make him active the whole day which can make him feel too tired to even resist the transition.
Use a baby monitor for an extra dose of peace of mind. By placing a monitor in your room and in your baby’s room, you would be able to hear any type of sounds that your baby makes, allowing you to attend to your baby faster if the sound that is made needs your attention.