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Where Will Your Newborn Baby Sleep?

December 1, 2010 |  by  |  0-3 Months, new mom, newborn, SIDS, sleep environment
Co-rooming with Mom and Kitty

Everybody Sleeps in the Same Room

Delightful Room for New Baby

Ready, Set, Go - New Bedroom for New Baby

There are few things more fun for a new Mom (or even experienced Moms) than decorating the new baby’s room. We coordinate colors and stack diapers while quietly fantasizing about the sweet moments when we’ll gently lay our beloved newborn into her crib and silently creep out of the room to enjoy a healthy gourmet meal with our partner while discussing world events. Ah….its a wonderful time isn’t it?

Well chances are your precious tot will spend very little time in that lovely new room for far longer than you expect.

When Will Baby Sleep in Their Bed?

The reality is that your newborn is unlikely to sleep inside the the charming crib that you spent an entire day assembling until she is 6 months or older. Further your newborn should and probably will be sleeping with you IN YOUR ROOM for about the first 6 months.


This is called co-rooming which simply implies that the baby is somewhere within your bedroom. This is different from co-sleeping which means that the baby is actually IN your bed.

There are a number of compelling reasons for your baby to stay in your room for the first 6 months:

  • Safety. Numerous health organizations (such as the American Academy of PediatricsSIDS Alliance and NIH) suggest that the safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room with you.
  • Convenience. Regardless of your choice to breastfeed, bottlefeed, or something in-between, your newborn is going to be eating anywhere from 2-6 times a night for months. Schlepping around the house at 3:00 AM is unappealing to even the most devoted night owls.
  • Oversight. If you are like most new parents you will need to compulsively check on your newborn baby for many months. This will include waking up every time they make a noise (note: newborns make a LOT of noise), checking their toes to make sure they aren’t cold, and of course – making sure they are still breathing. Its not just you – we all do this.
Co-rooming with Mom and Kitty

Everybody Sleeps in the Same Room

Accepting this reality far simplifies the process of sleep parenting for the first few months. It removes any pressure to try to shoehorn baby into their room for a while. And it frees you to look at your bedroom and make changes that will help both you AND baby sleep safely and comfortably for the first few months. So take a few minutes out of your room decorating fun and think about what might make you both more comfortable in YOUR room. Consider things like block-out blinds, white noise generator, and of course a safe-sleep option that fits comfortably next to your bed, that you will undoubtedly use in the coming months.

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39 Comments


  1. The baby in this picture is under a blanket? I thought you could use light blankets so long as they’re tucked in tightly. What’s the general rule on this stuff — if the temp is supposed to be 68 – 72, what kind of clothing layers, blankets, etc. can you use? At what ages is it safer to put a blanket in there? Thx, Matt

    • I don’t think blankets are ideal. But this picture was SOOOO awesome I couldn’t pass it up.

      The odds of a light blanket posing an entrapment or strangulation hazard is VERY low. Still if you want to be extremely safety conscious, it’s better to avoid all blankets till age 1. And frankly I’m a fan of no blankets till 2. Not because a 1.5 YO is at risk with a blanket but because they move around so much that they become dislodged so they aren’t really effective warming tools for little kids.
      Alexis recently posted..Is Cry it Out the Answer?My Profile

  2. I smoke 3-5 cigs a day & am currently co sleeping (nt by choice) I’m wondering why ‘they’ say co sleeping isn’t safe for smoking parents (although I don’t smoke before bed & alws wash hands\mouth thoroughly) any ideas why ‘they’ say this?
    Also my baby has a lot of the silent reflux syptoms & cries between 10am & 3am most nites,I do use a flattish mini pillow for her so she isn’t lying flat,is this ok? I also use a quilt (comforter) which I have once found covering her face,would you recommend seperate blanket for baby in bed?
    I have read your blog about swing and I am going to try with it although I am concerned it will be uncomfortable for 8 hour night sleep ?
    I’m really sorry to bombard you with Q’s its just as a first time mom with a crying baby and a partner who works nite’s I am more than a lil stressed :-)
    P.s I love yr information,so informative plus witty and comical. Love Nicola xx

    • Oh honey, I’m a little worried about you! Reflux? Unwillingly co-sleeping? Solo parenting at night? That’s a lot of rough stuff there. Is there anybody you can reach out to for a little help? Family? :(

      OK here’s my 2 cents.
      1) No smoking while co-sleeping. There is TONS of evidence that this is a bad idea. Basically cigarettes depress your awareness of your baby while in bed with you. And 2nd-hand smoke has a significant negative impact on your baby. Both of which greatly increase the risk of SIDS. PLEASE find another place for her to sleep.

      “They” is the American Academy of Pediatrics – over 50,000 pediatric doctors and specialists. You can read up more about it here:
      http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;105/3/650

      2) No blankets and no baby positioners either. Again both of these are additional risk factors for SIDS. How do you stay warm when co-sleeping? Turn the heat up or wear warmer jammies. Or, as I am strongly suggesting, have her sleep some place other than your bed (then you can use your quilt again!).

      3) If she is struggling with reflux maybe you could talk to your pediatrician? I would also ask your pediatrician about the use of blankets and co-sleeping while smoking. I can almost guarantee that they’ll back up my advice on this.

      4) Babies don’t find the swing uncomfortable. Most safe baby sleep surfaces are pretty hard (baby mattresses are like rocks) so the swing isn’t much different. If your baby has reflux the angle of the swing should help a lot. Check out the article below for more ideas on managing reflux.

      I know lots of people feel funny about asking for help – I get it, I do. But this is no time to be proud. Babies are hard. Refluxing babies are super hard. Night parenting without any help is brutally hard. Ask for help. If you don’t know where to get help, as your pediatrician for advice.

      I’m sending lots of positive thoughts your way. Best of luck with everything!
      Alexis
      Alexis recently posted..What to Do About Infant Reflux?My Profile

  3. LOVE your blog!

    Baby is sleeping great in our room at night in a rock-n-play sleeper. We are having nap trouble….where do you think is the best place for napping? Right now we’re rocking/bouncing to sleep and putting down is not problem at night…but during the day we get to sleep and are trying to put in swing or rock-n-play after…but always in the same room as us…should naps be in the same room as we are like nighttime sleep?

    Oh, baby is 2 months.

    • It’s generally good to have baby sleeping in the same place all the time. Although at 2 months you don’t need to be nutzo about it. As he gets older the light and activity of “Where you are” will start to work against you and the consistency, darkness, and low activity of “where he sleeps” will be more important.

      Also this is a GREAT time to play around with putting him awake in the swing (vs. rocking to sleep first). Not a critical “must do today” thing but something to play around with, ok?
      Alexis recently posted..Great Holiday Books for KidsMy Profile

  4. Thankyou for this article! I wish I had found your site while I was still pregnant!

    Instead my husband & I have established not so helpful sleep habits for our 7wo son. Essentially after starting with a bassinet I our bedroom, I ended up finding it was ‘easier’ & less disrupting to my hubby if I just moved out to the living roomfornursing and soothing. Eventually I nursed him to sleep on the couch and he just slept on me… Now i still nurse to sleep, then attempt to move baby to my husband on the other couch after each nursing session from about 6-7pm until about 3-6am.

    I’m now finally realizing this is not healthy sleep for baby as he is usually woken up when I move hi the first time, then he cries to sleep as my hubby tries to soothe him to sleep, then my husband will move during his sleep or while awake (often on his laptop), which leads to baby crying and me returning to nurse again (between nursing, I move to our bedroom with loud white noise and earplugs so that I. Can’t hear baby’s every little whimper or cry since I know he’s safe with daddy & every noise makes this new moms heart race).

    Sounds like I. Need to figure out how to transition baby to his rock n play in our bedroom. ( I already have it dark and with white noise). But I’m just scared to do it bc I know he cries once I set him down. How do I know he’s okay to lay there? I’m just a nervous new mom as I’m guessing is clear to see. :(

    Any tips? Do I just lay him down asleep in his rock n play and then just let him cry next to me? Sounds so hard to do :(

    If you’re still reading this, THANKYOU!!!!! =)

    • Sleeping with baby on a couch is not safe! PLEASE read this and get a baby swing if you don’t have one–I promise if you commit to this things will improve and you can all move out of the living room:

      http://www.troublesometots.com/the-ultimate-baby-swing-sleep-guide-for-swing-hating-babies/

      Congrats on your new baby and good luck!

      • Thanks, Kate :) We were not in a traditional couch situation as my hubby was sitting upright and rarely slept as he works at night. I agree that it’s not ideal though!

        Right after I posted I started cosleeping. Still not my ideal, but working for us for now…

        • Aha, that makes sense. We coslept too, for the first 6 months or so. I really don’t know how we would have gotten any sleep at all otherwise in the newborn days! When it became necessary to make the switch we used Alexis’s swing methods, both for naps (as replacement for baby carrier) and for bedtime, (as replacement for nursing while doing deep knee bends for 45 minutes OMG). :-)

          • Thanks again! How long did u end up using the swing? we only have a mamaRoo, which does move, though not as much as a true swing. He likes it for bits of play now though – just never longer than 15 minutes.

            He’s not a fan of our baby carriers, but I’m trying. Though if he starts truly crying (vs whimpers), I give in and hold him instead. As for tose squats, think you and I both ought to have killer quads after these kiddos ;) lol!

        • Hi Jessica,
          I used the rock and play sleeper for 6 months and loved it (most of the time). It was much easier for me to transfer sleeping baby into the rnp than into a co-sleeper/bassinet because of the angle. Also, I would lean over the bed and rock it gently if baby woke up upon transfer.
          Another thought for you, at 7 weeks, your baby is still a peanut. You could try swing or even rocking him to sleep (in your arms until drowsy or even asleep) and then transfer him into a swing or the rnp. Alexis says motion is an easier sleep crutch to wean than sucking to sleep. Just something to think about while you still have so much time.

          • Thanks, Jennifer! I did try the transfer to the r&p myself, yet he began screaming pretty quickly. Though I do admit I gave up pretty quickly as well. Now that he’s almost 11 weeks maybe I should try again? Do I just try it over and over and over? Picking him up each time he cries and soothe him back to sleep? (I’m exhausted and frazzled just thinking about that!)

            You used the r&p for your baby’s first 6 months? Then over to… The crib? Did you use it for naps as well?

            • Hi Jessica,
              Just so you know, at 7 weeks, I would rock him or bounce him until he was asleep. I only nursed to sleep when he woke in the middle of the night, and then I think he was legitimately hungry. If he woke up upon transfer, I would sneak behind the rnp and rock it. As he got older and moved into his own room (around 5 months), I would sneak into his room and rock the rnp when he woke up. I know it sounds silly. It probably would’ve been easier to use a swing, but my baby loved motion! The good thing was that he learned to fall asleep by himself in the rnp. I used the rnp for naps and night time. I only used it for sleeping, along with dark room, swaddle and white noise. We transfered to crib at 6 months when he started to roll over. Baby sleep can be extremely stressful! Good Luck!!!

  5. Believe it or not, baby has now napped THREE times for 30 minutes in his mamaRoo :) Thank-you white noise and darkened rooms. And thankyou for all of your tips and support!

  6. Hi. Future first time mom (in 3 months!!)

    My hubbie and I live in a 1 bedroom apartment, and despite my frantic searching, a 2 BR doesn’t look like it’s going to be on the horizon for a while (Who, knows, we might still get lucky…)

    It looks like we’re going to have to have our Munchkin in the room with us, mostly because there is no-where else for baby to sleep.

    Any ideas for turning our room into both a nursery while still maintaining it as our own special space?

    • YES!

      For starters, don’t worry about your own special space. Trust me you won’t be doing anything special in there for a long time. For real yo :P

      But a great way to create space is by using a shoji screen (folding Japanese screen). They’re cheap, fold up when you aren’t using them, and look cool! When the time comes (honestly you really don’t need to buy one for many moons) you just put it up between you and the crib and voila – privacy!
      Alexis recently posted..Is Your Crib as Safe as You Think?My Profile

      • :)

        I’ve heard that that’s the case… Thanks for the advice though. a shoji screen sounds like a great idea. :)

        Thank you!

  7. Hi Alexis,

    My baby girl due is coming up and I’m still not sure where she’s going to sleep for the first months before she’s ready to go to her room. I always thought about the pack n’ play (w/ napper and changer) option but the rock n’ play also seems to be the “great thing” for a lot of moms. I also found the Tiny Love 3 in 1 Rocker Napper, and it seems to be a good option as well. I mean I want the best place for her to sleep but I’d also like to have the convenience of the changer while she’s in our room. Now after reading your blog I’m also thinking maybe the PNP and a swing for her naps during the day.

    There are so many products and it’s impossible to get all of them but I’d like to have at least the best options for sleeping at night the first months and for taking naps around the house during the day.

    Last thing, I have this swing in mind Fisher-Price Cradle ‘N Swing. Thoughts or any other option?

    Thanks for your help.

    • Hey Blanca,

      Don’t buy too many gadgets pre baby because many of these will quickly become large paperweights. Personally I would JUST get a Fisher Price Cradle N Swing. The RNP is cheaper but I think you’ll get more “value” out of the swing. So I would start there:
      – Crib
      – Swing
      – baby bouncer

      Done :)
      Alexis Dubief recently posted..Is Your Crib as Safe as You Think?My Profile

      • Thanks Alexis!

        How about the place for her to sleep in my room at night? Is the bouncer or swing an option, or I should get the PNP or something else?

        • Hey Blanca,

          I would never let baby sleep in a bouncer – it’s a safety issue :( Some babies do sleep all night in the swing but I wouldn’t assume yours will sleep there. Lots of people use a PNP or a co-sleeper (essentially a PNP that attaches next to your bed, it’s just convenient). Bassinets are generally small so I find them to be not that useful. At least a co-sleeper (which converts to a PNP) can continue to be useful for travel and whatnot?

          Hope that helps!
          Alexis recently posted..Is Your Crib as Safe as You Think?My Profile

  8. Hi Alexis

    My son is now going on 6 weeks old and from day 1 we placed him in his crib to sleep at night. His nursery is right across from our room, maybe only 20 feet away. He will get up to breastfeed around 12am, 3am and 6am and I don’t mind walking to his room to change, feed and rock him. He seems to sleep okay in his crib, after I lay him down he will grunt and make some noise for about 10 minutes or so and then sleep. I recently read that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies to co-room. Do you think it would be okay for my son to continue sleeping in his crib or should I have him sleep in his swing in our room?? So confused?? :)

  9. Our son slept in a pnp for the first two months and then got too big for it. The hanging bassinet would move every time he moved so in his crib we went… Literally 5 feet from our br door in his room… Between that and the monitor he was fine. It was the best thing I ever did because he has slept in his own room ever since. Tried co sleeping with our new little girl and now she’s an addict! Lol! Can’t put her down anywhere except the moving car and stroller. While I am enjoying our snuggle time, I’m worried about the future.. Going back to work in sept! Keep your son in his crib!!!!

    • Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for your input and advice! I’m going back to work in September as well….darn! Haha! Well, keep up the good work and goodluck! Thank you again :)

  10. I see you wouldn’t recommend a bouncer. Is an infant seat dangerous? Our pediatrician said it was fine to let her sleep in there. She can be strapped in.

    • It’s all shades of grey. Technically the AAP says nowhere other than a crib.

      But the reason I don’t like bouncers is that they pose a tipover hazard. Babies can and do bounce until they tip over. Which is why I prefer things with a stable base – Fisher Price Rock n Play or a full sized swing.
      Alexis Dubief recently posted..Why Sleep Training Didn’t WorkMy Profile

      • I understand the concern of an actual bouncer-bouncer. What we have is a Fisher price Little Lamb Infant seat, which looks to be the same in theory as a swing. I’m hoping this works because she really loves it. Thanks!

  11. I just wanted to say something. Recently a family who lives near me lost their 3 month old due to co-sleeping suffocation by one of the parents. This is the biggest tragedy I have ever heard.

    I came here because I used this blog as a resource for the year my son was a baby. and I remember reading a co-sleeping post on your site and I can’t find it but I wanted to put this out there.

    People think it can’t and won’t happen to them, but this poor family lost their precious baby due to that same line of thought.

    Co-sleeping without the use of a co-sleeper or bassinet is not safe until the baby is old enough to be able to get themselves unstuck if they become so.
    I am so sad about this event and the only reason I’m sharing it on a popular sleep site is to help others avoid the same tragedy.

  12. We moved the little one to her room a few weeks ago. She is the LOUDEST SLEEPER in the history of time.
    Okay, maybe just as loud as every other newborn, but I couldn’t take it anymore. I was sleeping 3 hours a night, and that was on a good night. When we moved her in there, we still had her in her swing. It seemed to work much better, and with just using the monitor to hear her I didn’t hear every little coo & sigh. Now she’s in her rock & play and doing fabulously. I know it works differently for every baby & parent, but this happened to work for us. I’m not breastfeeding so it wasn’t much extra work to fix the bottles in the kitchen rather than our bathroom. And I’ve gotta say, it was really nice to get all of the baby crap out of our room. ;)
    Mallory recently posted..An Idiot’s Guide to Newborn PhotographyMy Profile

  13. My 2.5 month old needs to be held and bounced/rock to sleep for naps and at night. She is swaddled at night and placed in her bassinet. For naps, she’s fine unswaddled (if held, rocked,and walked around) and put in the swing once she’s asleep. As she gets close to 3 months I want to make sure we’re not doing things that will impede her independent sleep.

    Would you recommend the swing at night, all night, if it means her falling asleep on her own? Should I be swaddling her and putting her in her swing awake for naps?

    • Also, she’s out growing her bassinet, so I’m wondering if we should try a pack n play, if it means staying in our room, or the crib in her room? (or, again the swing in one of the two rooms… so confused!)

    • I have the same issue, although my 8 week old sleeps fine at night in bed with us. He needs a swing for naps and we want to transition him to his own room, so I’m wondering if we should start night sleep in the swing and then move the swing to his room. I hope we get some advice! Thanks for posting!

  14. I was directed to your blog and absolutely LOVE IT!!

    I am a first time mom with a 9 day old daughter at home. We have been having tons of problems getting her to sleep by herself at night. She mostly only seems to sleep if one of us sleep with her in the spare bed. It is very hard for us to really sleep. Last night she wanted to sleep in her car seat carrier so we let her desperate for solid sleep. Then a friend told me this morning she could suffocate in there which terrified me!! Is thIs true? Is it really that unsafe?
    We tried a bassinet but she doesn’t seem to be a big fan of it either. During the day after feedings and staidly short awake periods I can put her anywhere but a crib/pack n play/bassinet and she will sleep usually for close to 3 hours when she eats again. She has just started napping in her swing during the day so we may have to give that a try but it seems the second we put her down at night she’s wide awake. A rock n play was also recommended but some family friends who had troublesome sleep babies. I don’t know what a white noise machine is either. Do you have any recommendations? We have her feedings fairly well scheduled as her last one is usually 10:30ish then we let her go 4 hours between bottles unless she wakes up hungry around the 3 hour point. But it seems to work because she’ll eat around 2:30am and then not again until 6-6:30am which isn’t bad for us if we could get her to sleep better. My partner will get up and make her bottle but he’s right back asleep while I feed/change/rock her back to sleep since he works so early in the morning.
    Do you have an recommendations because I feel so frustrated plus I’m dealing with some rather serious post-partum depression which makes it all 10,000 times harder. I am now on antidepressants for a few days and starting therapy to try to cope with that. Please help!!

  15. question about WHERE the swing should be.
    we have twin 3 yr olds so not a quiet house. right now i have the swing in the livingroom, should it be in our room where he sleeps, or in kids room? girls tend to play in living room mostly… he can fall asleep alright usually, but only sleeps 20 mins, noise? gas? not sure what wakes him…

  16. Oh good lord, thank you.

    When researching why my seven week old decided to hate sleeping I found your blog. I must commend you on your ability to read what every new mom is thinking and wondering about. It has answered, reassured, and made me laugh as I realized that like everyone else, I was NOT alone. I also giggled because as I was reading this, my daughter was falling asleep in her swing.

    For me personally, I have her sleeping in her swing which is in a south-facing living room (meaning a lot of sunlight during the day so as to not make for day/night time confusion) and at night she sleeps in a rock and play. I have started her on at least one (albeit SHORT) nap a day in her crib so that I might be able to ease that transition down the road.

    I’ll say again, thank you. I know that it has to be tough to answer the same questions continually, read the same comments day after day but please, take solace in the fact that you’re truly helping a lot of parents, especially the sleep-deprived and those driven witless… like me.

  17. My 11 week old sleeps wonderfully at night. Falls asleep about same time every night 8-9, wakes up at 5to eat then back asleep until 8 or 9. However, he sleeps with me and doesn’t want to nap during the day. How do I transition to his crib and get him to nap there as well without my constant presence? He appears to only sleep in my arms. I’m trying to go back to work but am scared to death I have an overly needy baby. Help!!

Trackbacks

  1. Why Babies Love White Noise | Troublesome Tots
  2. 5 Reasons Your Baby Hates the Crib | Troublesome Tots

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