Babies should sleep close to their parents (on a safe, separate surface, not in your bed) during the first few months of life, says Preeti Parikh, MD, board-certified pediatrician, assistant clinical professor in the pediatrics department at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and an American Academy of Pediatrics fellow and spokeswoman. She recommends even longer than you might think — about six months. Being in the room with you helps prevent SIDS, makes feeding time easier, and keeps you from wandering down the hallway when you could be getting an extra minute or two of shut-eye. (You’ll take all you can get, right?)
After that six month mark, you can be roomies as long as you like. Part of it will depend on how often baby’s waking at night. Obviously, keeping baby in your room will be a lot easier on you if you’re breastfeeding and baby still wakes every two to three hours for feedings. A baby is usually ready to cut out nighttime feedings when she’s four to six months old.
Wondering if moving baby to her own room could actually help her sleep through the night? It’s not a guarantee but it might, Parikh says. Some babies wake up if they sense you’re in the room and then have a tough time soothing themselves back to sleep. Others don’t care one way or the other. You can give the big move a try and see how baby responds.
Some parents are ready to move baby earlier than others. For example, you might be eager to get your sex life back on track and want some alone time with your partner. We don’t blame you!
But putting baby in her own room makes some new moms anxious. If you’re ready to move baby, but at the same time worried about it, set up a video or audio monitor in baby’s nursery so you can keep tabs on her. And make sure her crib is safe: Baby should snooze on a flat mattress with a fitted crib sheet, wearing a sleep sack, Parikh says. Don’t put in any bumpers, stuffed toys or blankets, and you’ll sleep more soundly knowing there’s nothing in there that poses a safety risk.