Moving your baby to their own room is a poignant moment: it’s one of their first big milestones, one that signals their developing independence, and reclaiming a bit of yours. For some of us, this is a happy moment; for others, it’s more bittersweet.
Regardless of one’s feelings on moving your baby to their own room, parents often have questions about transitioning their babies to their own rooms. Common questions include when should I move my baby to their own room, what should I do to prepare my baby for moving to their own room, and what does a baby’s room need? Here we’ll answer those questions and more.
When Do I Move My Baby to Their Own Room?
The AAP recommends room-sharing until at least 6 months, ideally 12 months. That said, some families find it better to move their baby sooner, around 4-months. The benefit of moving around 6-months is you can hopefully settle your baby in their own sleep space before they start experiencing the 8-month sleep regression caused by separation anxiety.
Why Should I Room Share with My Newborn?
Room-sharing is exactly what it sounds like: having your baby’s crib or bassinet in your bedroom at night. This is different from bed-sharing, which is dangerous and not recommended. When room-sharing, your baby has their own space, their crib or bassinet, and you have your own, your bed.
Room-sharing is important and should be maintained for six months because:
Room-sharing can prevent SIDS: While we still don’t understand what causes sudden infant death syndrome, studies show babies who room-share are less likely to die from SIDS. The theories about why room-sharing prevents SIDS is that parents are more in tune with their babies and therefore sense if something is amiss. Either way, room-sharing saves lives.
Room-sharing is convenient: Newborn and young babies are growing very fast and therefore need to eat often, including at night. Room-sharing makes night feedings easy, you can attend to your baby as soon as they wake to eat – hopefully ensuring they don’t fully rouse before feeding and putting them back to sleep.
What Does a Baby’s Room Need?
Your baby’s sleep environment impacts their sleep. To create a sleep-nourishing environment, you’ll need these things for your baby’s room:
Blackout Curtains: Light will wake up your baby or prevent them from falling asleep. Even the smallest sliver of light can “flip the switch” in the morning, leading to early wakeups or disrupting sleep training. Help your baby sleep better by installing blackout curtains in their room.
Noise Machine: White noise or brown noise are proven to help babies fall asleep faster and sleep through noise disruptions, like barking dogs, traffic, or household noises, such as showers. Also, white noise specifically mimics the sound of the womb, which soothes babies and helps them sleep.
Temperature Control: If you can control the temperature in your house, set it to 68-72 °F. This is the scientifically proven best temperature for babies to sleep, and adults.
Why Should I Move My Baby to Their Own Room?
While room-sharing is great for your baby’s first 6-months, moving your baby to their own room has important benefits:
Improves Sleep Training Success: Sleep training is all about teaching your baby to fall asleep independently so they can fall asleep faster and put themselves back to sleep between sleep cycles – helping them stay asleep longer– the process is possible while room sharing but easier when your baby has their own space.
Decreases Sleep Cycle Disruptions: With the right sleep space there are less distractions to disrupt your baby’s sleep, for example when you go to bed after them or roll over at night. In their own space they can sleep consistently without hiccups.
Eases Separation Anxiety: Separation anxiety is a completely normal – and positive – experience for your baby. It happens when your baby starts to learn object permanence: that objects and people exist even when you can’t see them. This separation anxiety in babies often begins around 6 months and can reoccur cyclically through 24-months. Moving your baby to their own room teaches them to be comfortable by themselves.
Gives You Space: Room-sharing is such a special bonding time for parents and their new baby, but at a certain point you also need your own space for your own well-being. You’ve been working very hard and are a total rockstar; you deserve to have your own space back. This is not you being selfish or anything like that – in fact, by taking care of yourself, you’re helping your baby: a more rested parent is a more attentive, caring, and safe parent.
What Do I Do Before Moving My Baby to Their Own Room?
Hang Out in The Room: You want to make sure your baby is comfortable in their room before their first night, so spend as much time in that space as possible before their big move. It’s also helpful to enthusiastically explain to them that this is their space. Say things like, “Wow, this is your room – you’re going to sleep in here and it’s going to be so good!”
Nap In Their Room: You can also help your baby adjust to their new space by putting them down for their naps in there.
Keep Up Your Bedtime Routine: Consistent, calming bedtime routines are the foundation for healthy sleep. These routines both soothe your baby, preparing them emotionally for sleep, and the repetition begins to cue them it’s time to sleep, creating a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime.
Your bedtime routine can include whatever you’d like – a bath, cuddles, story time, a baby massage – what’s important is that the activities are calming and consistent – and that feeding is done before the bedtime routine starts.
When Should I Put My Baby to Bed?
Bedtimes tend to be on the earlier side and adjust a little with age – 7pm is a good target time, however bedtimes always need to be flexible as what time you put your baby to bed really depends on how daytime naps go.
We have guides to sleep time by age, but as a rule, you should put your baby into their crib when they’re drowsy but awake.
Be on the look out for sleepy cues, yawning, rubbing eyes, zoning out. When you see those, you should start your bedtime routine; when your baby shows signs of “nodding off” – they’re drowsy but not yet asleep, place them in their crib, on their back.
They will then fall asleep by themselves in their crib – a key element of healthy sleep habits: teaching your baby to fall asleep independently.
“SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment,” Pediatrics.
“Babies Sleep Better In Their Own Rooms After 4 Months, Study Finds,” NPR
“When Your Baby Is Your Roommate,” NY Times
“When (and How) to Move Your Baby to Their Own Room,” Happiest Baby.
How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.