Moving Baby to Own Room: Our Top 10 Tips
Having your little one sleep in your room during the first few months of life is not only convenient, but it’s also safer than having your newborn sleep in a room on their own as it reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). As your newborn grows and SIDS becomes less of a risk, you can place more focus on sleep training. Teaching your little ones the self-soothing skills they need to become great sleepers will pay off for everyone in the long run. When you are ready to tackle moving baby to their own room, there are a few key tips and tricks that can help make the process much smoother. Here are our top 10 tips!
Table of Contents
Our top 10 tips for moving baby to their own room
When to move baby to their own room
- At around 6 - 7 months of age, your little one will start tuning into their surroundings more. By 8 months, your baby will also become more conscious of whether or not there is someone in the room with them, which can lead to separation anxiety. Try moving baby to their own room before these key awareness milestones emerge, to make the transition easier.
- Make sure your little one is sleeping for stretches of six hours or more before trying to transition your baby into their own room.
- Check with your pediatrician before moving baby to their own room. They’ll be able to offer some insight on whether or not night feedings are still necessary. If they are, it might be best to wait to make the transition for your own peace of mind.
How to transition your baby to their own room
- Spend more time together in your little one’s bedroom beforehand so that they become more comfortable in their own space. Make bedroom activities with your little one peaceful and relaxing. For example, you might try to do some of your feedings in your little one’s room. Massages and lullabies are also great options for relaxing and are quiet activities that will help your child begin to associate their bedroom with rest and relaxation.
- In the weeks leading up to when you’ll be moving your baby to their own room, start carrying out your bedtime routine in your child’s bedroom. Like our previous tip, this practice will help your baby begin to associate their bedroom with sleep. Once you’ve carried out the bedtime routine in your child’s room, you can then place them to sleep in their crib or bassinet in your room. After a few weeks of carrying out this process, you can try to put them down in their own bedroom and see how they respond.
- Before making the switch overnight, let them practice with daytime naps in their own bedroom. Once your baby is more comfortable in their room during the day, you can try an overnight stretch.
- Start moving the crib or bassinet further and further away from your bed over the course of a few weeks. This will help your little one get more accustomed to sleeping further away from you before moving baby to their own room.
- A white noise machine or playlist is a great way to soothe your baby if they are having trouble sleeping in their own room. Pacifiers, teethers and sleep bags are also great options to try if your little one is struggling with self-soothing.
- You might find the transition of moving your little one into their own room challenging. This is completely normal and more common than you might think. In fact, many sleep experts think that the process of moving your baby to their own room is tougher on the parents than it is on the child. If you’re feeling anxious about the nighttime separation, make sure you have a good video baby monitor so you can keep an eye on your baby from your own bedroom, and don’t get discouraged if the transition isn’t immediately successful. These things can take time and you’ll get there!
- If you’re transitioning your child before 6 months of age, you may be able to skip a lot of the gradual steps that an older baby might need to successfully transition to sleeping in their own room. This is because babies under the age of 6 months lack the spatial awareness that older babies typically have. So, if you’re transitioning your little one into their own bedroom before the age of 6 months, try simply laying them down one night to see what happens. You may find they settle in immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re wondering when to transition your baby to a crib, it’s important to be aware that there are certain safety risks associated with co-sleeping. So, if you’re currently co-sleeping, it’s a great idea to transition your little one to a crib as soon as possible. There are two approaches you can take to help your baby work through this transition.
The gradual approach. This is a great option for babies who have previously rejected the crib. Start by introducing space between yourself and your baby on the bed. Once your little one falls asleep, you can slowly move away from them and gradually increase the amount of space between you. Work on this stage for a few nights. Once your baby is accustomed to this, try carrying out their usual bedtime routine until they fall asleep and then gently transfer them to the crib. Continue to do this for a week or more until your baby is spending at least half the night in the crib. Now, you can begin sleep training! Put your baby into their crib while they are awake and work towards teaching them how to fall asleep independently.
The cold turkey approach. If your newborn hasn’t previously rejected the crib, you may be able to successfully carry out the cold turkey approach to transitioning your baby from co-sleeping to the crib. With this approach, you’ll begin sleep training on night one. Once your bedtime routine is complete, place your little one in their crib and work towards teaching them how to fall asleep independently.
It can be tough on new parents (and their tired arms) if their little one won’t sleep without being held. It’s also not ideal for your baby to get too used to always being held while sleeping as it will hold them back from learning how to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own. So, what should you do if your baby won’t sleep without being held? Here are a few of our favorite tips:
Don’t keep your baby awake for too long. If they become overtired they’ll be much fussier when you try to put them down for a nap. So, pay careful attention to their wake windows and cues that your child is getting tired and act quickly.
Put your baby down in their crib or bassinet before they fall asleep. This way they don’t become accustomed to always falling asleep in your arms. Over time, it will become easier and easier for your baby to fall asleep independently.
Try a swaddle before putting your baby down in their crib. This wrapping technique mimics the feeling you create when you hold your little one.
If your baby won’t settle in their crib without you, try some gentle touch. You can stroke their cheeks or place your hand on their stomach until they fall asleep. Over time, you can gradually scale back as your little one learns to self-soothe.
If things aren’t going to plan, call in some reinforcements! A white noise machine or a pacifier might help tip the scales in your favor.
Some parents might wonder whether baby can sleep in their own room from birth. The answer is that experts don’t recommend this. However, recent research shows that babies who slept in their own rooms before four months of age (referred to as ‘early independent sleepers’) slept longer than babies who slept in their parents' room. What’s even more interesting is that the effects of this early change were long-lasting. By 9 months of age, these early independent sleepers were better sleepers than other babies who were still sleeping in their parents' bedrooms. But, they were also better sleepers than babies who had transitioned out of their parents’ bedrooms between 4 and 9 months. It’s not completely clear why this is the case but one hypothesis is that babies who sleep in separate rooms from their parents learn better self-soothing skills.
The Cry It Out (CIO) Method is a sleep training method that requires you to let your baby cry and fuss for a set period of time before you take any action to intervene and soothe your little one. There are both proponents and critics of the CIO Method. It can certainly work for some babies but it may not be the best approach for others. When it comes to sleep training, it’s important to trust your parental instincts, try different methods, and find out what works best for you. Like so many things in parenting, there is no one right way to sleep train your little one.
Some experts recommend that you continue to share a room with your baby until they are about 6 - 12 months old to decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). On the other hand, some research shows that babies who transitioned out of their parents’ bedrooms before 4 months old actually become better sleepers than those who remain in their parents’ bedrooms. So, it would appear the jury is out. If you’re not sure what option is right for you, talk to your pediatrician about your sleep training process and ask them for their recommendations. Other experienced Moms in your community might also be able to offer some advice and guidance by sharing what worked for them.