Before we get to the good stuff, we want to note that sleep support is only intended for full-term healthy babies. Medical diagnoses or prematurity can greatly impact sleep and change what you can reasonably expect from your little one. Sleep is a highly individual process, and we encourage you to reach out to your pediatric provider or a sleep professional for support as needed.
There’s a moment of nervousness for many new parents as they put their baby down into bed and walk away down the hall, out of sight, for the rest of the night (theoretically, of course – you know exactly how likely it is that Baby actually sleeps through the night). Room-sharing (keeping a baby in the parents’ bedroom at night, not in the same bed), is some parents’ way of compromising with that feeling.
Pros of room-sharing
According to the American Association of Pediatrics, room-sharing (but not surface-sharing) in the first 6 months can reduce the risk of SIDS. Recommendations aside, nursing parents also sometimes find that sharing a room with their babies can help them get more sleep. Keeping babies nearby and in sight can help some new parents feel more secure.
Cons of room-sharing
The major argument against room sharing is that babies will have a hard time transitioning to sleeping in their own room when the time comes and some sleep researchers believe that any amount of parental involvement and presence when a baby is falling asleep can lead to a lighter, more broken-up sleep.
Some of the other drawbacks of room-sharing are specific to your lifestyle – for example, if you smoke in your bedroom or keep the TV on at night, it’s still probably better for Baby to sleep somewhere else.
There’s also a definite loss of privacy involved in room-sharing in ways that bothers some new parents more than others — but there are other reasons why room-sharing might not work for your family. For example, some babies sleep really loudly. If you find that sleeping in the same room as Baby is keeping you from actually sleeping, room-sharing might not be the way to go.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
- Mary L. Gavin. “Bed-sharing.” KidsHealth. The Nemours Foundation, December 2016. Retrieved June 28 2017. http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/cosleeping.html#.
- Ian M. Paul. “Mother-Infant Room-Sharing and Sleep Outcomes in the INSIGHT Study.” Pediatrics. June 2017. Retrieved June 28 2017. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2017/06/01/peds.2017-0122.
- “American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Safe Sleep Recommendations to Protect Against SIDs, Sleep-Related Infant Deaths.” AAP. American Academy of Pediatrics, October 24 2016. Retrieved June 28 2017. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/american-academy-of-pediatrics-announces-new-safe-sleep-recommendations-to-protect-against-sids.aspx.