As parents, our main concern is always the safety of our child, so I often get asked the question, how long should baby sleep in your room? It is an excellent question! Let’s cover when it is safe to move baby and how to create a safe and optimal sleep environment for them once you decide to transition them to their own room. It is important to remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that your baby should be in their own sleeping space, but in the same room with you ideally until at least 6 months, when the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) lowers. Once they have reached this age, milestones are being met, and you are ready emotionally (are we ever! lol) then you are ready to go! Here are some tips to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Signs that your baby is ready:
- Weight gain and growth is on track.
- Baby is reaching appropriate milestones.
- Baby has increased mobility.
- Baby is struggling to develop independent sleep skills and/or may be waking often in the night wanting to comfort feed and out of habit, instead of necessity.
Getting their new sleep space ready:
- Blackout blinds: Making sure that the room is dark helps to promote melatonin production and ensure consolidated sleep during the night and consistent naps during the day.
- Cool and Comfortable: Making sure that they temperature in the room is between 18-22 degrees Celsius (68-72 degrees Fahrenheit) promotes quality sleep.
- Safe Sleep Space : Their crib should only have a crib mattress in it, with a fitted crib sheet. Their should be no items in the crib until 12 months of age (stuffed animal), and no blankets and pillows until at least 18 months of age.
- Minimal stimulation: Try to avoid projector lighting and attachment screen mobiles to the crib. Did you get one as a baby gift that hangs from the ceiling? Try it above the change table though to keep them distracted!
- Noise reduction: If there is environmental noise inside or outside the home, you can use a white noise machine. Make sure to keep it at the lowest level and away from the crib.
- Video or Sound Monitor: Make sure to have a video or sound monitor set up, so that you can keep a close eye on bay.
Tips to make the transition smooth:
- Slow introduction: Introduce your baby to the new environment. If you are looking to make the transition slowly, you can start with naps first.
- Check your awake windows: If you have a baby that is approximately 7 months old, their average awake window between naps should be 2.5 to 3 hours. Making sure that baby is following the right windows can help to avoid overtiredness going into daytime sleep and bedtime sleep. Click here for my awake windows download here.
- Encourage independent sleep skills: If you have not started already, this can be a great time to begin teaching independent sleep skills. Sleep training does not have to mean “cry it out”, do your research and find the right strategy, support and guidance for your family.
Once your baby has reached the appropriate age of 7 months and older, transitioning them to their room can be a wonderful next step for many families. Remember that creating a safe environment is the most important, and reviewing the safe sleep guidelines is a great first step to setting up a successful room for your little one. If you have concerns or questions about your baby’s sleep, trust your instinct and reach out to your doctor, public health unit or to a sleep professional such as myself. I am happy to discuss how I help families transition their little one’s and develop independent sleep skills through my private sleep coaching on a complimentary baby sleep assessment call. Enjoy this next milestone in your little one’s amazing life!