1. Frutti says

    Thank you very much for the article! I experienced exactly the same with the initial room sharing, to the point that I was the only person in the house who could never sleep – baby and hubby happily snoring/grunting etc through the night. So I moved the baby to his room very early, to the indignation of my MIL.

    Recently my MIL came to visit for one month and we put her in the baby’ room as per her wishes. Soon after that baby started waking up at 4am every day! He also started teething. So I don’t know whether I should move my MIL into a different room or on the contrary keep her with baby so she could comfort him at night as he seems quite in pain sometimes. Can this room sharing create any sleep problems for the baby?

    Thank you for all your insight.

  2. Renata says

    I am eager to hear what others do when they want to go to bed. Do they have to sneak into bed or can you turn lights on and read and chat and do all those things that are part of the winding down process?

  3. Traci says

    We have done room-sharing since the day my 8 1/2 month old daughter was born, though not always by choice. When we first brought Gabriel home from the hospital, we lived in a 1 bedroom apartment, because we hadn’t been planning on getting pregnant when we did (though our daughter is SUCH a blessing and if we could go back and do it all again, we definitely would!) So Gabriel slept in a pack-n-play next to the bed for easy nighttime breastfeedings, and because my husband and I both were terrified to not have her in there with us. Breastfeeding ended up not working (though not because of the sleeping conditions) so we eventually switched to a bottle, so that removed the need of having her in the room. We decided when our lease was up to move to a 2 bedroom apartment, but our plans fell through and we had to move into a tiny room (even smaller than our old bedroom) at my sister’s apartment. The apartment we’d planned on still wasn’t ready a month later, so we’ve been spending the past nearly 5 months at my MIL’s house, in a bedroom there. Thankfully the room (and the bed!) is much larger, because we’re in a house. However, I’m starting to think that Gabriel has a hard time sleeping at night because my husband rolls around almost constantly at night, and the bed is so creaky. I can’t let her sleep in the living room by herself at night (though I’ve considered it), because if she DOES wake up, and cry, she’ll wake up my husband’s 97 year old great grandmother that also lives in the house. So we are very limited on our options here, but Gabriel has started not sleeping well in the past week, and I’m not sure what to do. At first, we thought it was because she was sick (VERY runny nose). Three night of no sleeping had us deciding to take her to the doctor, and she has no bacterial infection ANYWHERE. The doctor said she looks perfectly healthy, but if she -is- a little sick, it’s just a virus and there’s not much we can give her. We gave her benadryl to help with the nose runny (and stuffy) ness. That helped with her being able to breathe, and she slept better for one night. Then she started going to bed better at night, but now she wakes up anywhere from 2-6 am when she used to sleep CONSISTENTLY til 7 am. My husband works two jobs and can’t afford the loss of sleep. I think to start with, room-sharing worked really well, but after a certain age and a certain point in baby’s development, the baby needs their own room. Gabriel is cutting teeth, but she never even STARTED to get fussy on the last two teeth. I don’t know if that could be causing it, but we use Hurri-caine and it usually numbs it, and even that’s not helping her sleep. We used to give her a warm lavender bubble bath before bed every night because it would soothe her, but we’ve realized now that now that she can play more easily, it really just riles her up and makes it harder for her to sleep. Any ideas or suggestions on what to do with her would be GREATLY appreciated! God bless.

  4. says

    We had him in our room for the first 8 months. We especially didn’t want him in his room because it is upstairs, and while I wa still night nursing, I was afraid of going up and down in the dark and exhaustion!

    At first it did make everything easier, but as he go a little older he turned out to be a very light sleeper. We had to tiptoe around, hold our breath, and try not to rustle too much when we moved in bed. If I coughed (I have asthma) I’d lay there stiff as a board listening for him to start crying.

    We transitioned him upstairs for naps first, which was relatively easy. Night times took a couple days for him to settle, but we’d already done CIO in our own room, so he knew how to get himself to sleep. We made sure to keep to the same routine. EVERYONE was sleeping better almost immediately. He was still night feeding a that point, but I had so much more rest that I wasn’t as worried about going up th stairs a couple times a night. He’s also a much deeper night sleeper now, I’m not sure if that’s from the switch, or just age. And for us it’s been extremely good to have a little “us” space again.

  5. Ebony says

    I thought this article might have spoken to room-sharing for siblings?

    Our 6 month old daughter sleeps in her cot in our bedroom and is sleeping from 7pm-8am, sometimes waking once a night around 4am but resettles herself. Our 21 month old son sleeps in his cot in his bedroom and sleeps soundly from 7 30pm-7 30am. It is our intention for them to be in a room together (2 bedroom home) but I’m not sure when and how to make this transition. We’re not in any hurry and we are all in a good rhythm now, just preparing.

    Any stories about siblings room-sharing? Any advice about making a smooth transition?

    They have different nap times through the day also (at present), which could prove tricky. How might one navigate this?

    Thank you kindly

    PS ~ Renata, we sneak in. Audrey always stirs a little and often we worry that we’ll wake her up but mostly she sighs a little, moves about a bit and then settles. I really try to respect our babes’ sleep time and often (in fact almost always) put their needs first, which pretty much means keeping a consistent environment for them. As is evidenced in the fact that they both sleep through the night and have sound naps through the day, it seems to work for us all but especially the kids.

  6. Tunde says

    Thanks for the article.My husband did something few days after the arrival of our son(now 10mths+),he took him to the tv room and he put the home theatre on,and put it on the highest volume. And the baby slept in that noise. Since then there is no noise that can keep my son awake. The only time he is sensitive to noise is when he is teething.
    We sleep together in the same room i don’t have to tiptoe around the room, or be scared of putting the lights on. Though he prefers sleeping on the same bed with us. But i don’t encourage it.
    Renata, i suggest u try putting the lights on if he reacts to it ,maybe u should get a color bulb that can help you find your way around the room.
    Frutti,i think you baby is teething that is why i think the baby has not been able to sleep well. Some one being around could comfort him.
    Traci, i think Gabriel is teething too. my son’s nose runs too when teething, and little cough too. I don’t bother my self as long as i know that he is eating right and get to sleep twice during the day.
    That it worked for my baby does not mean it will work for others but my suggestion is based on what i have done with my son and has worked for him.During teething period he does not eat well too, but try to feed him with the little he can take in.
    God help us all. God Bless you Nicole Johnson

  7. Emily says

    I too was hoping for some advice about sibling room sharing! We are expecting our second child in March, when our son will be 2.5. We live in a two-bedroom apartment, so baby needs to bunk with brother. Is it best to start baby in there right away (so they can get used to each others’ sounds ASAP)? Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated!

  8. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Frutti — thanks for sharing your experience! Sounds like it was similar to mine :) As for whether or not room-sharing can cause sleep problems, the answer is “maybe”. If your MIL develops a pattern of rocking/soothing your baby to sleep, that could certainly create sleep associations; your baby may get in the habit and eventually NEED those things to fall asleep. On the other hand, it might not. Maybe it’d be best to talk it over with your MIL and see what kind of agreement you can all come to?

    @ Renata — For the whopping 3 days I room-shared with my little guy, I tiptoed around and didn’t turn lights on. Didn’t work for me at all. My husband and I like to read and talk before falling asleep, and I didn’t like giving that up.

  9. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Ebony — we’re featuring an article on that topic (sibling room-sharing) in early October. So be sure to check back then! In the meantime, here’s my advice (from personal experience): when you make the switch to having your 2 share a room, you’re going to be in for at least a few bad nights. When we put my sons in a room together, the first week or so (maybe two) was a little rough. But then they quickly adapted to the change and seemed to get used to each other’s little noises. No problems since, and they’ve been sharing a room now for almost 2 years.

    @ Tunde — thanks for sharing these tips, and for responding to other commenters! We love it when our readers help each other out. :)

  10. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Emily — as I mentioned to @ Ebony, we have an article on sibling room-sharing coming in early October, so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, here’s my advice: I’d consider waiting to put them in the same room together until your newborn is sleeping semi-consistently and waking a reasonable ## of times each night (maybe 3?) You know how crazy those first 8 or 12 weeks can be, in terms of nighttime waking.

    On the other hand, starting you new baby off in the same room as your toddler could help your toddler get used to some of the crying, especially if your toddler tends to be a deep sleeper.

    Let us know what works out for you! And stay tuned for that article coming in October. :)

  11. Collin says

    We room-shared with both our kids. With our son (who just turned 3 years) we had him in our room from July to Christmas when we picked up a video monitor on a Boxing Day sale (day after Christmas and a big shopping sale day in Canada). Then we felt comfortable and felt he would be ok (and so would we). Our sleep didn’t change and neither did his, but we were all sleeping fine by that time with the room sharing also.

    Our daughter (who is almost 6 months) is still in our room, but we are moving her to the nursery this week. We had the video monitor from day 1 for her, but we still kept her close because we felt the positives outweighed the negatives.

    With a baby monitor where you can actually hear every sound amplified, I don’t think the parent’s sleep is any better with the baby out of the room. If the baby seems sensitive to every little sound, that could be a problem in their own nursery too (in our case right next door to big brother’s room), so I would recommend white noise (some great free iPod/iPhone apps are available). We still use white noise for our son, but our daughter hasn’t seemed to need it yet and actually seemed disturbed by it when we tried it a couple times, so it doesn’t work for everyone.

  12. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Collin — thanks for sharing your experience with room-sharing! Sounds like it’s been a really positive experience for you and your family — I’m glad!

    You make a good point about the baby monitors — in a way, those can almost be like having your baby right next to you. So if you’re bothered by hearing every sound your baby makes (like I was), having a monitor turned up to top volume isn’t really a solution. :) I’ve always just left my door and the door to the nursery partially open; that allows me to hear my kids when they cry, but I don’t hear a lot of their softer, “non-urgent” noises.

  13. Rochelle says

    We did bed sharing for the first couple months and then room sharing for the next couple months after that. I never slept well, even when our daughter wasn’t waking up to eat. We switched to the crib around 5 or 6 months I think. It wasn’t long after that when I decided to completely turn off the monitor and keep the bedroom doors open. It wasn’t long after that when I decided to shut both doors and have the monitor off. When she woke, I could still hear her but I didn’t wake up with my heart pounding in distress which would help me get back to sleep easier. Now she doesn’t have any night wakings that I hear. Maybe whimpers here and there but she can successfully get herself to bed at 12 months. My mother in law is coming to help with child care this fall and will be sleeping in our daughters room. I’m very concerned this is going to negatively effect her good sleeping habits that we worked very hard to establish. I’ve even thought I might put her crib in the second bathroom and use it only has a bedroom, not a bathroom when my MIL comes (this apartment is handicap accessible and has two large bathrooms). My husband thinks I’m crazy. What do you guys think??

  14. Michelle says

    Not so much room sharing as small-apartment-sharing. We live in a 650 sq. feet studio apartment in Manhattan. The crib is in the foyer, right outside the kitchen. Once our LO is asleep, we have to tiptoe around and speak softly. We drape a blanket over the side so when we have to turn the light on in the kitchen, it doesn’t shine right into her eyes. A savior for us since the newborn stage has been white noise–a radio turned to static, that masks some of the other noise in the place, so we can watch TV, etc. But sometimes noise still wakes her. I have been concerned about her not having her own space and how that affects her sleep (she is 8.5 months) and we hope to move by the New Year.

  15. Alison says

    Ditto on the interest in an article on sibling room-sharing! Looking forward to reading that one in October!

  16. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Rochelle — I wouldn’t say crazy; when my husband, my two boys, and I were living in a 650 sq. ft. bungalow, I used to put my youngest in a pack and play in the teeny tiny little galley kitchen on nights when he just wouldn’t sleep well, so that his crying wouldn’t wake his brother.

    So I don’t think you’re crazy at all!

    You may just want to let your MIL know about your concerns, and encourage her to not start any bad habits with your baby (i.e. rocking to sleep each night.) See if that works; if not, resort to more drastic measure, like bathroom-sleeping. 😉

  17. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Michelle — that has to be tough! We’ve always had at least one extra bedroom to put a baby in, so that’s been helpful. Hoping you end up with a bit more room once you move!

    @ Alison — stay tuned! I’ll try to remember all the concerns moms are voicing here about sibling room-sharing, so that I can work them into that article. :)

  18. Lisa says

    @ Ebony- I would love to know the schedule you have for your 6 month old! Please share :)
    We room share with our 6 month old since the other bedrooms are occupied by my almost 13 yr old and 2 1/2 yr old.
    It has it’s ups and downs for sure. I do find myself asking my oldest and hubby to be like stealth ninjas walking in there at night. I also respond quicker than I think I should at the sound of her first whimper.

  19. Bria says

    Sadly, you’re leaving out a very important reason for room/bed sharing. It is true that Mama typically sleeps far more lightly when baby is rooming in with her but this has biological origins. Mamas and babies are in tune with one another in utero and after birth. This is actually a primal response so that even in sleep, we are able to protect our infants. Mothers often wake shortly before their babies rouse to nurse. Studies have also shown that when babies are in close proximity to their mothers, the mother’s breathing helps to regulate the baby’s own still irregular breathing. This, contrary to popular belief, actually significantly reduces the risk of SIDS as a mother’s breathing can actually prevent a baby from stopping breathing and not starting again.

    We as a society have become far too selfish in matters such as this. Yes, it’s true. I have been more sleep deprived in the past year than I have ever been in my life but I can still function. Our children are little for only so long. Doing what is best for them in the early months (or longer should one choose) is far safer and healthier than sticking them in a room down the hall with the door closed.

  20. jadea says

    thank you for another helpful blog post!

    we have no choice but to share a room with baby since we have a small 1 bedroom apt. Our son from the day we brought him home from the hospital just would not sleep well due to waking up from gas. He ended up sleeping with us since it was easier to nurse him back to sleep, especially bc of my husband’s work schedule.

    Now he is 20 months and gas issues have subsided drastically, but still sleeping with us. His bedtime troubles are due to associating nursing to sleep and then the alarm noises. I am only trying to set a small goal which is to have him sleep without nursing then we hope to buy a toddler bed.

    Unfortunately I know as long as we are in our 1 bedroom apt that he will never have sound sleep even if he learns to fall asleep on his own. We have noise from the alarms, and my husband’s schedule changes so sometimes he comes home late or has to go to work at 2AM.

    I find it interesting that some chose to make noise available when newborns were sleeping, I wish we thought of that! Our routine has always been lights off, no noise to sleep so that is what my son is used to. When we are out and it is bedtime he will only go to sleep in a quiet, dark room!

  21. Dawn says

    I am mum of 5 children (4 teenagers and a very unexpected 13 month old). I have room shared with my 13 month old since he was born as we live in a 4 bedroom house and all the rooms are full lol.
    I became a single mum during my sons pregnancy and found it was alot easier to have him in my room. I now find it’s better he disturb me than one of the kids going to school tired because he has had an unsettled night.
    I am about to transfer him into a bed as he is very tall and has started trying to climb out of his cot – and doing quite a good effort I might add. His bed will be in my room for about another year and then I hope to transition him into one of the boys rooms in bunk beds – my other childrens rooms are on the first storey and mine is all the way at the back of the top storey.

  22. daniL says

    I have mostly gone with what I felt was right. Lincoln my 2.5 year old, slept in a bassinet for the first couple months until I had gallbladder sugery after which I couldn’t get up to get him so he slept on a boppy between my husband and I until I got better. Then he didn’t like the bassinet b/c it wasn’t very soft,lol. Then we traveled a lot seeing family and living out of state for extended periods of time so he became used to sleeping with us.he was and is a great sleeper just went to bed when we did usually around 10 and woke around9 or 10 the next am. He also had a lot of allergy issues and frequent minor illnesses and I liked having him with me to make sure he was ok. After we started weaning about 18 -20 months, I started working on him sleeping in his bed. I also got pregnant with our lite girl sadie around this time, she is almost 3 months. They both no sleep in their own beds in our room. Sadie we put to sleep around 8:30 then we all go to bed about 10, she wakes to eat then goes back to sleep for about 7 hours. Then my husband leaves for work and the kids and I cuddle til we wake around 9 or 10. I plan to homeschool so the schedule will soon start adjusting but I try to follow the kids lead and encourage it in certain ways. They both go down for a nap between 1 and 3 depending on when they wake and sleep for about 2 hours. If one goes to sleep later or wakes earlier I just spend a little quality time with them. I love my kids and my lifeknda revolves around them, which is ok since my hubby works about 80 hours a week. But we do make efforts to set timeaside just for us, becauseour marriage comes first andour solidarity will ultimately affect our kids. Well, that’s my story :-) as complete as I an recall 😉 pregnancy takes a toll on my memory, lol

  23. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Lisa — “Stealth ninjas”! I love it! :) My youngest is a really light sleeper, so I try to be as quiet as I can when I’m tiptoeing around in her room at night (or even past her room, for that matter), but our 100 year old house has the loudest, creakiest old floors imaginable. They totally thwart all my stealth ninja techniques. 😉

    @ Bria — thanks for sharing your opinion! If you’ll notice, we did point out in the article that room-sharing does produce lower risks of SIDS (and linked to an an AAP article on that topic.) I think most people tend to associate room-sharing with bed-sharing, and so automatically think that having a baby in the parent’s room is going to cause SIDS. And, as you point out, that’s definitely not the case!

    I think you raise an interesting point here. I do agree that as parents, we have to curb some of our more selfish tendencies in order to do what’s best for our babies. But I hesitate to call sleeping a baby in a separate room “selfish.” We have to remember that just as every baby is different, every mom is different. Some moms have amazingly high tolerances for sleep deprivation; others (myself included) definitely don’t.

    Let’s remember that there’s nothing risky or dangerous about putting a baby to sleep in a crib in a separate room (provided the crib itself is a safe sleep environment). So we don’t want to make parents who choose to do that feel like they’re being selfish. As a few parents have already pointed out, room-sharing can be disruptive for both a parent’s AND a baby’s sleep, so in some cases, it might be in the best interest of everyone involved to sleep baby in a different room!

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, Bria. It’s good to have different viewpoints in the discussion!

  24. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Jadea — Sounds like you’re making the best of a challenging situation. I admire that! It can’t be easy to share such a tiny space, and as you say, as long as you’re there, your little guy may never sleep totally peacefully. But you do what you have to do, right? 😉

    @ Dawn — !ow! 4 teenagers and a baby — you must be busy! Honestly, room-sharing sounds like a good arrangement in your case, especially if you know that your baby’s crying would wake up your teenagers. From what I can remember of my teen years, I was NOT a pleasant person right after I woke up! 😉

  25. Emily DeJeu says

    @ daniL — thanks for sharing these details! Sounds like room-sharing has worked out beautifully for your family. And that sleep schedule sounds great — a 2.5 year old who sleeps until 9 or 10? I’m green with envy over here. My boys (3.5 and 5) are up with the sun, just about every morning.

    Thanks, too, for mentioning the need to prioritize your relationship with your husband. I don’t know first-hand (since my room-sharing experiment was such an unmitigated disaster), but I imagine that room-sharing makes it a little more challenging to get plenty of “together” time for a couple. Encouraging to hear you say that’s possible!

  26. Rebecca says

    My first slept in our room until about a year old, not really by choice, but nonetheless, it was fine up until about 8 months old or so. Once he figured out how to stand in the crib. He got up around 4-5 in the morning and the only way to get him back to sleep was to offer him a bottle. Otherwise, he would keep tossing and turning and end up crying. We even tried giving him water, but that didn’t work either. Once we moved to a bigger place, he had his own room. He got up the first couple of nights and cried for just a few minutes, but after that, he slept the entire night without a problem. With my second, I didn’t really want him in our room, but the only other option was sharing with my oldest. I decided to wait until the baby was sleeping through the night to make the transition. The first few nights were a little rough, but they seem to have adjusted. I do feel bad for the oldest though, because the baby is such a LOUD breather. One of the reasons I couldn’t sleep well when he was in our bedroom. He makes a lot of noise at night, but the oldest is a very quiet sleeper. I’m hoping it doesn’t bother him that his little brother is so loud, but since he’s 2 and doesn’t really talk, there is no way for me to truly know. He doesn’t seem to wake up at night, disturbed in any way, so i guess that’s a good sign!

  27. Dawn says

    Ha ha ha Emily DeJeu teenagers can definatly be grumpy especially when sleep deprived, I know I was !!! I however am very lucky only 2 of my 4 are occassionally grumpy – my 18 yr old son is fairly moody about sleep and my nearly 13 yr old daughter has become a little moody lately but my 13 yr and 16 yr old sons are very easy going. They actually ask for bubs to sleep in their rooms. They all adore my baby and he has them all wrapped firmly around his little finger lol.

    I would like to add that my 3rd son and my daughter (4th baby) room shared for many many years quite successfully. In fact every time I tried to seperate them they complained about it. They began sharing a room when they were 18 months and 6 months old. My son (18 mnths) would wake when bubs woke but once he saw that I was helping her and she was okay he would go straight back to sleep. I can remember a few tricky stages when their daytime sleeps didn’t match, but I would just do everything to get them ready in the lounge and then just put them quickly into their bed. Now at nearly 13 and 13yrs they still have sleep overs in each others rooms during school holidays and weekends.

    On the flip side my first two sons room shared for a short time and it didn’t work at all. My 2nd sons personality (highly intelligent and academic) is very different to my other sons (sporty and physical). My 2nd son became quite withdrawn whilst room sharing and really only came into his own when I seperated them.

  28. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Rebecca — as long as your toddler seems to be sleeping well, I’ll bet your little ones are adjusting to room-sharing just fine. :) I know what you mean about the loud breathing, though — my oldest is a noisy, deep sleeper, but my younger son is a quieter, lighter sleeper. I really think, though, that the younger one has gotten used to his older brother’s noises; he sleeps through them without a problem, now.

    Dawn — thanks for sharing these details about room-sharing! It’s always interesting to see how kids react to room-sharing as they grow. My boys love being together right now, but I’m guessing that won’t always be the case! 😉

  29. Mel says

    @renata – I find having white noise, or in my case ocean waves playing on an mp3 player covers the noise of my husband and I coming to bed and has the bonus of sending us both to sleep. He’s stopped snoring since we started using it – hooray for everyone in my street.

    I managed about 6 weeks with my eldest in the room because he was such a noisy sleeper I never got a moment’s peace, even when he wasn’t waking 8 times a night. My youngest is nearly 7 months and still in with us. Not sure if he’s a quieter sleeper or if the white noise masks his funny little noises but he doesn’t wake me til the sun comes up. (it’s like he has sixth sense even with blackout curtains)

    Looking forward to the article on siblings sharing though, as it’s about time he joined his big brother. October, you say? Gives me time to rearrange the room/buy a cabin bed to put the cot under/ think about a Montessori floor bed.

  30. Sindy says

    Hi have a 6year old daughter,4year old son and then b/g twins 18months old. Now in SA its winter and had a rule that all the kids can sleep in our room. the 2 big ones on matrasses on the floor and the twins still in their cots. Currently the 2 big ones have a room and I plan to move the twins into their own room mid of Sept. I just feel so comfortable with my kids “close” to me as to when they sleep in their own rooms I wake up more just to check if they are ok. The twins are basically the ones that keeps me awake during the night. Sometimes sleep between 3-5hours. I also found to when they were newborn that they slept better when they shared a cot and was close to each other but then they started to wake one another up-they cot shared untill 5months. We don’t tip toe in the room and we put on lights and watch TV in bed and they sleep sound.

  31. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Mel — your comment made me smile :) Glad for you (and for your neighbors) that your ocean sounds MP3 has stopped your hubby’s snoring! And glad your 7 month old is sleeping so beautifully!

    Good luck in room-rearranging/bed-hunting!

    @ Sindy — thanks for sharing your experience with us! Glad room-sharing has proven to be a good thing for you and your kiddos. :)