Congratulations, new parents! You’ve welcomed a beautiful new baby into your family… and also into your bedroom. Experts say the best way to keep your baby safe while sleeping is to keep them in your room for at least six months, and ideally up to one year! The American Academy of Pediatrics says it’s one of the best ways to help prevent SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths.
It’s important to note that there’s a big difference between room-sharing and bed-sharing. Medical experts agree bed-sharing with infants is not safe. Instead, what they recommend is keeping your baby close, in a bassinet or crib (like @whitneyleighmorris’ alma mini+ crib featured in these photos!).
Still, keeping your baby in your room for an entire year isn’t easy! So we put together 8 tips to make room-sharing with your baby a little bit easier, from parents who have done it.
1. Choose gear that works in your space.
Since your baby will be spending a lot of time in your room before they end up in their nursery, choose a crib that fits the space they’ll actually be sleeping in. Our alma mini crib is ideal for small spaces, and since it comes with wheels, you can pull it right up next to your bed. Our new alma mini+ crib is just slightly larger (it’s a U.S. standard mini crib size), and it can convert to a full-size alma papa crib, and even toddler bed with a simple conversion kit (sold separately). Like the mini, the alma mini+ also has optional wheels, so you can roll it right into baby’s nursery when they graduate from room-sharing!
2. Use a sound machine.
Whether it’s a fancy Hatch sound machine or a cheapie from Amazon, a little white noise will go a long way in giving you some latitude to move around your space without waking up the baby. The soothing sounds will keep your baby sleeping no matter what kind of night time noises you and your partner are making (insert sexy growl sound).
3. Keep your own aesthetic.
Having your baby in your room for a year-long sleepover does not mean you have to invite a world of baby characters into your own private space. Opt for sophistication with your bedroom baby gear. Our mini and mini+ come in a variety of different colors to fit the vibe you already had going in your room and our bedding collection with Lewis Home allows you to bring high end textiles into the mix.
4. Get intimate in the guest room.
Speaking of those night time noises, we can tell you from experience that getting intimate while room-sharing with your baby is awkward. Sometimes the most simple solutions take a while to figure out, so we’ll clue you in on our best hack: using the guest bedroom. This pro-move gives you a little more privacy, so you don’t have to worry about your baby waking up… and wondering if they caught a glimpse of something X-rated!
5. Keep your room dark and cozy.
One sure-fire way to make sure everyone gets a good amount of sleep is to keep it dark in your room. We suggest picking up a great set of blackout curtains for your bedroom. Infant sleep experts agree, keeping the room as dark as possible will help aid in the settling of your baby’s circadian rhythm. And it’ll be good for you, too!
6. Invest in an insulated tumbler.
Worried those thirsty footsteps might wake your baby? They will. We suggest keeping a good insulated straw tumbler, like this one by Takeya, on your bedside table -- that way you always have a drink nearby and you don’t have to get out of bed and sneak past your little one to get a glass from the kitchen. It’s especially great for nursing mamas who need to stay hydrated.
7. Get back to reading before bed.
One of the silver linings about having your baby in your room is that you won’t be able to watch television before you fall asleep. But don’t substitute with your phone, crack open a book! Experts recommend avoiding screens for at least an hour before bedtime for more restful sleep, and a good book is a great distraction from your that blue light. So put your baby to bed, grab a Nora Ephron novel and read until you’re ready to hit the hay, too.
8. Remember: you’re keeping your baby safe.
Even though room-sharing with your baby may be difficult, you are doing it to keep them safe -- and that should give you enough peace of mind to persevere. Remember when you couldn’t have a glass of wine for 9 months? You survived that, and you can survive this too. And this time, you get wine.
Photography by @whitneyleighmorris featuring the alma mini+ crib in coconut white.
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Hanna Nakano is a Washington, D.C. based writer and photographer, and mother of two.