So, you’re ready to move your baby into their own room? Give me just a moment here to pop this bottle of champagne and celebrate with you!! Girl, all I can say is FREEEEEDOMMMM!
But let me take a step back. You probably already know that moving a baby into their own room isn’t all that simple. I know some of you are hearing freedom bells ring, but for others, moving baby to the next room is hard. You feel anxious. You worry that having them in another room will cause your baby to emotionally detach from you, or that if you can’t be right there to watch that baby’s chest rise and fall, something terrible could happen. I’ve been there, too.
If this resonates with you, take a moment and breathe slowly and deeply with me. It is going to be alright. That’s why I’m here: to walk you through the steps for setting your baby’s room up for safe sleep and how to do it as seamlessly as possible.
When to Move Your Baby to Their Own Room
There is no perfect time to move your baby to their own room. Ultimately, this has to be a decision that you are comfortable with where you don't feel pressure to do it sooner than you would prefer. If you have a young infant under the age of 6 months and they are sleeping great in your room, then there's no reason to switch it up...that is, if it's working for you.
And by you, I actually mean YOU! Maybe your baby sleeps great in your room but you and the significant other are ready to have your own space back. Moving your baby into their own room is not selfish at all. They can be safe and happy and thrive either way...and at some point it's going to need to happen!
With that said, here are some recommended guidelines about when to stop room sharing and move your baby to their own room:
1.) The AAP recommends that babies room share (but NOT bed share) until the age of at least 6 months.
2.) This study found that poorer sleep-related outcomes and more unsafe sleep practices occurred in babies between the ages of 4 and 9 months who continued to room share. Babies who were moved to their own room were much more likely to get a full night's rest with fewer nighttime wakings than the babies who room shared.
3.) Many families see a marked reduction in quality of sleep by both baby and parents when they continue to room share beyond the age of 4 to 6 months. That's why this can be a great time to make the switch.
Because sleep deprivation is very real, many families move their baby to their own room sooner rather than later. We recommend using safe guidelines as a starting point and go from there. You know your baby and your situation better than anyone...when the timing feels right, you'll know!
Setting Up Your Baby's Room for Safe and Sound Sleep
Before getting into the steps of the HOW to move your baby into their own room with as few tears as possible, you need to make sure it's set up for safe, distraction-free sleep.
Here's what you'll need to do to make the perfect sleep environment:
1.) Firstly, think about the placement of objects around the room:
- Cover all outlets with safety plugs. You may not think this matters right now if your baby is still very young, but babies grow in a blink and you want to be proactive.
- If you decorate with objects on the wall (especially above baby’s crib), make sure they are securely mounted and lightweight so that they do not cause harm to your baby should they get knocked off or fall down
- Tape down any cords from lamps or monitors to avoid choking or tripping hazards in the middle of the night
- Be sure that the cord to the window blinds is not within reach of your baby's crib - in fact, placing the crib complete away from the window is best
2.) Make sure the crib set-up meets the recommended guidelines by the AAP.
- Ensure that the only thing that goes in your baby’s crib is your baby (no blankets, bumpers or pillows)
- A firm, mattress that fits your baby's crib and a fitted sheet is all you need
3.) Keep Your Baby's Comforts.
- If possible, use the same sheets (or same type) that the baby had in his other room. The familiar smell and texture will bring a sense of comfort and safety to your baby as he sleeps.
- If you utilized white noise, you'll want to transfer that to your little one's room for the familiarity and relaxation that it provides
- Continue using the same sleep sack your baby used in your room - if they used a weighted wearable blanket from Dreamland Baby, for example, this recognizable comfort will continue to help them sleep. And this option is completely safe unlike typical blankets...more on that here.
Steps to Move Your Baby Into Their Own Room
Once you have your baby's room set up in a safe and comfortable way, it's time to make the move. And chances are, you worked hard on your little one's nursery and it's probably so darling...it's time they finally started using it, don't you think?!
Here's what we recommend at Little Winks Sleep:
1.) Your baby should have her first sleep in her crib at nighttime.
This is important. By going straight for nighttime sleep in the crib and not for naps here and there, your baby will quickly see that this is now where they sleep all the time. Going back and forth will just confuse your baby. Additionally, nighttime is the easiest time of day for your little one to fall asleep because of the increased melatonin that occurs when it starts to get dark out.
With that said, you can spend your day playing before baby’s first night in her new room to make baby feel at ease. Several 10-15 minute periods of playtime in their new room throughout the day will help your baby feel safe and learn her new environment.
2.) Keep the bedtime routine the same as it's always been.
If bedtime typically goes bath, story, bottle, song, and bed, then keep it that way! Just finish off the routine in your baby’s room. Be sure you're not adding in any extra sleep props to make them feel more comfortable...you should still be putting your baby down drowsy, but awake, and preferably in a Dreamland Baby weighted slack that will help your baby sleep.
If you're struggling with a good crib routine, read this article!
Moving your baby to their own room is all about promoting independent sleep, so you don't want to do anything that will make that more difficult in the long run.
Remember, practice makes perfect. Expecting perfection the first night or two is not realistic. With this being new for your baby, you'll need to expect that to come as a surprise. They might push back a little bit, but that's normal...they're tiny little humans after all!
3.) Be confident in your decision to move your baby to their own room.
If tears and whimpers from your baby result from the move, it can cause you to second-guess your decision about transitioning your baby to their own room. But trust yourselves, moms and dads! Remind yourself that this move is best, and though it may be a bit rough at first, it won't be long before everyone is getting better sleep by having their own defined spaces.
Baby’s first night or two in any new place is often accompanied by a few wakeups or hiccups (if you've traveled with your little one before than you already know this!) Keep your routine consistent. Stay strong. And go to sleep knowing that your baby is safe in their new room.
And if you are struggling with the ‘sound’ part, meaning you feel like your baby struggles to sleep independently even after an adjustment period, reach out to me at Little Winks Sleep.
Moving your baby to their own room is a big deal!! It's one of those rites of passage that, in the moment seem daunting and nerve-wracking, but before you know it you don't remember any different. Though we know you're a bit sad that your baby is growing right before your very eyes, we are so happy that you finally get a bit more freedom back in your life.
Now it's time to finish setting up your baby's new room so that night #1 will be a success.
If you find that you're not finding the freedom you desire and your baby is struggling with their new environment, you can book a FREE 15 minute call with one of Little Winks' Sleep sleep coaches to talk about your baby’s sleep struggles, and we can guide you from there.
By the time your baby’s sleep journey with Little Winks has concluded, your baby should be able to:
- sleep independently
- use their sleep skills with a safe person (Grandma, Uncle, Best Friend) … just imagine that night out baby-free!
- have 10-12 hours of consolidated, quality night sleep. (If you still feed your child at night, that is totally okay. We’ll talk about that with you personally because some babies do need those feeds still!).
And you will have freedom. Your child will have freedom being calm and confident in their crib. They are no longer relying on other people or things to sleep, but instead on their learned sleep skills.
Hi, I'm Anna McMillan, owner of Little Winks Sleep. I work with families from all over the world, teaching parents how to get their little ones to sleep. Using a gentle parent-present approach we are able to compassionately guide families through the process of teaching their little ones to sleep. I am also the mother of two beautiful girls – one brand new! I know how you are feeling. I am walking through it right now!