When do babies need their own rooms?

It’s fairly well-known that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sharing a room with newborns for a few months after bringing them home from the hospital. What’s less clear is when this period of room-sharing should end. The main reason it’s unclear when babies should move out of their parents’ rooms is that, technically, if the question is when Baby needs his own room, the answer is ‘never.’

There may be a time when it would be better for Baby to move to another room, but when that is varies from baby to baby. The AAP’s recommendation says that parents should share a room with their baby for anywhere between the first 6 and first 12 months. Parents who feel it’s a better choice for their family’s sleep, though, can stop earlier than that and get many of the same benefits of room-sharing by using a baby monitor to monitor their children’s breathing, and having their room be close and easy to reach.

All families have different levels of comfort with physical closeness, and sleep is both hard to come by when babies are young, and important for keeping households running smoothly. This often means that what babies need is defined by what will be the best for the family’s sleep as a whole. What is good for the family as a whole, though, might mean closeness, or might mean getting some space. In the end, the most important factor in deciding when to move Baby to his own room is when you and he are ready for that.

Signs Baby might be ready for a change of scenery:

  • Baby is getting too big for bassinet, moses basket, crib or co-sleeper he’s been sleeping in.
  • He keeps you awake at night – even when he is sleeping, and you should be able to sleep with him. The other side of this is if you suspect that your restless sleeping habits might be keeping Baby awake, that might be a good reason to move him, too.
  • You feel like ‘it’s time’ – it’s not a very scientific reason, but part of parenting is learning when to trust your instincts. If you feel like it’s time for Baby to move into his space, it really might be.
  • Night-weaning – whether you start weaning Baby away from nighttime feedings so that you can move him to his own room, or if his night-weaning feels like a sign that he is ready to move, whether or not Baby is still waking up during the night to eat is often a factor in where he should sleep.
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