Current safe sleep guidelines recommend that your baby sleeps in the same room as you, for at least the first six months of life. For many families, room sharing continues well beyond this, and for some the six months is about all they can take! Its completely up to you, of course, and you must do whatever you need to do for the good of your own family. So what’s it like sharing a room with a baby? Opinions can vary! So this week we’re looking a room sharing and your baby’s sleep…
Sharing a room with your newborn baby
When you first bring home your precious little bundle, no doubt you will want to keep her exactly where you can see her at all times. And having her close by makes feeding and night wakings a lot easier too. So room sharing seems very natural in the early days and yet most parents are surprised by a number of things that happen when there is someone new in their room…
Newborn babies make lots of noise
Forget sleeping soundly like a baby! Newborn babies come with a variety of sound effects! Due to immature breathing and digestive systems, newborns grunt groan and cry out literally all night. They don’t always need you to do anything, they just make noises! Be prepared- you’ll spend the first few nights jumping at every little sound!
Newborn babies breathe differently
So you spend time watching your new baby sleep, and you notice that their breathing patterns aren’t quite the same as yours. They breathe fast. Then slow. Then they hold their breath… it can be quite terrifying! If you are ever at all worried about how your baby is breathing, please do seek medical advice. But rest assured that most of what you witness is normal.
Newborn babies breathe in cycles. So their breaths get faster and deeper, and then shallower and slower. And those times where she holds her breath and you are literally screaming inside for her to breathe again? They can last up to five seconds! Its all normal and as she matures her breathing will mature also. To check your baby’s breathing you can:
- Put your ear next to her mouth and nose to listen
- Watch for the rise and fall of her chest
- Put your cheek next to her mouth to feel her breath
Again, if you’re concerned you must seek medical advice
Newborn babies wake you up
To be expected! But sometimes new parents don’t appreciate just how often a newborn baby can wake you up. If you’re lucky, it will be just when she wakes for feeds, but if you’re not…
Sometimes babies call out in their sleep, then resume their snoozing like nothing happened. Meanwhile, you’re awake and ready to go with the next feed/ nappy change/ cuddle. Sometimes they break wind LOUDLY. All in all, you’re going to get woken up when you room share. Read my post on white noise to see if that helps.
Room sharing with an older baby
Older babies are a little easier to share with, but not without their own set of challenges. Older babies are a lot more aware of you, so they might wake when you come to bed, or when you get up to use the bathroom. They might wake for cuddles more because they know you’re there. And let’s not forget that you might wake them too, if you snore or cough too loudly for example. Once over six months, many parents start to discuss moving their baby into their own room for the sake of everyone.
Room sharing beyond six months
For many families, room sharing works and there are no real reasons why it needs to be changed. If this is the case for you, then fine. Carry on as you are and take no notice of anyone else’s opinion. If, however, you wish to transition your baby into her own room the tips in this post might help.
How does/ did your baby sleep while you room share?