Room sharing is super convenient, so there’s no rush to move your baby out. Feeding is easy when your baby is in a bassinet or cosleeper next to your bed. There’s no middle-of-the-night hike down a cold, dark hall, and no struggling to fall back asleep again. And you get to hear your baby’s white noise, which can help you sleep better, too.
Also, room sharing is safer. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room sharing for at least the first 6 months. You can hear if your infant is having a problem, and just being near her reduces the risk of SIDS.
Yet, by the first birthday, about 70% of parents have moved their baby to another room.
When’s the best time for this move? I recommend doing it around 6-7 months. After that, infants become much more tuned in to the particulars of their surroundings and may have trouble with the change.
Also, by 8 months, many babies suddenly notice—and really care—if there’s no one nearby. This can especially be a problem if they’re used to having company in their room but now find themselves totally alone. Separation worry is especially stressful for babies with a sensitive or cautious temperament.
When you make the move, don’t be shocked if your little one protests for a few nights when you leave. If this happens, I recommend you pick her up right away and comfort her (don’t talk too much or nurse her; otherwise you will accidentally be encouraging her protests). As she calms, put your little love down again. If she fusses again, pick her up. Repeat this routine as often as needed. As long as you pick her up as soon as she fusses (and use white noise), it rarely goes on more than 30 minutes.
Here are some additional ways to ease your baby into the change:
- Spend more time in her room 1-2 months before making the switch. Use her room for pleasant, quiet times like feedings, massages, singing, naps or rocking.
- During the transition, continue all the great routines and sleep cues she loves, like the bedtime routine, white noise CD, pacifier and a small lovey after 9 months.