Since bringing your baby home for the first time, you have shared the same sleep space. You have watched over your little one and kept them close by as they slept.  

Now you are beginning to think about moving your baby into their own bedroom.   

Is there a right time to do this?

Current Safe Sleep guidelines recommend that a baby should sleep in the same room at their parents for the first 6 months.  This greatly reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

After this time, it really is a personal choice. The right time is whenever you feel comfortable making the move.

How should I set up the Nursery?

If your baby is 6 months or older and you feel ready to make the transition into their own room, there are several factors to consider.  Ultimately, your goal is to create an environment that is conducive to restorative sleep whilst ensuring your baby is safe in their own room.  

Moving your little one from your room into their own nursery is a big step.  You will want to be able to keep a close eye on baby throughout the night so now is a good time to purchase a baby monitor or camera if you don’t already have one.  This will allow you to check on them and give you peace of mind without disturbing their sleep.

Remember the importance of shutting all bedroom doors with regards to house fires.  A monitor will give you peace of mind rather than leaving doors ajar in order to hear your little one.  

An essential element of sleep is darkness.  Ensuring your baby’s room is completely dark will support melatonin production (the sleep hormone) and help them to sleep well for longer periods of time.  Investing in good-quality black-out blinds or curtains will block out natural light that could prevent your little one falling asleep or that could cause early rising. They are also helpful during the lighter nights of the summer months for undisturbed naps.  Babies are not born with a fear of the dark so there is no reason to worry that your baby will find this upsetting in the slightest.  Some light is necessary for night feeds.  Using a soft nightlight with a red or amber glow will cause the least disruption to your baby’s sleep.  

Think carefully about where you will position your baby’s cot.  It should be away from radiators or heaters to avoid overheating and a risk of SIDS.  Babies under 12 months of age are unable to regulate their own body temperature and this can be extremely dangerous when they are unable to move away from the heat source.  You should also ensure the cot is not close to any cold or drafty windows.  The optimal temperature for baby’s sleep space is between 16-20 degrees Celsius.  You can safely ensure your baby is a comfortable temperature through choice of sleepwear.  Check the tog of sleeping bag and advice on how many layers of clothing baby should wear depending on current temperature.  Remember that your baby’s cot should always be free of loose bedding, pillows, cot bumpers or soft toys in line with Safer Sleep Guidelines. Duvets are not recommended for babies under 12 months.  

Finally, think about noise in and around the sleep space.  Using a white noise machine can be helpful if played consistently throughout the duration of sleep.  White noise can be especially helpful during daytime naps to block out external noise which could disturb baby’s sleep. I would advise keeping any other soft or calming music used as part of your wind-down routine strictly before sleep and stopped before baby is put into the cot.  The same goes for any ceiling lights or stars you may use as a sleep signal to your baby.

How do I make the transition as easy as possible for my baby?

Babies thrive on predictability and consistency.  It is likely that you already have a bedtime routine established by the time your are moving your baby into their own sleep space.  Continuing the same routine is key to making your little one feel safe and secure.  If not, begin implementing a few simple steps before sleep in the weeks leading up to the transition. Further advice can be found in my blog ‘The importance of a bedtime routine’.  

Change as little as possible. This might sound impossible when making such a big move but there are several steps you can take.  Rather than choosing fresh pyjamas and sheets, keep the same sleepsuit, sleep-sack or bedding from the previous night. This can soothe your baby through familiar smells.  

Spending some time with your little one in their new room is also a good idea. If you don’t already use the space for changing or dressing your baby, this is a good place to start.  You could also begin sharing books in their own room.  Avoiding play, especially in the cot, is paramount. You want your baby to be comfortable in their bedroom but you want them to associate it with sleep rather than play time.

Whenever you decide to move your baby into their own space, give them time to adjust. Don’t panic if your ‘good sleeper’ has unsettled nights. This is normal when making any change to your little one’s sleep. Being consistent in your bedtime routine and settling method will ensure that they will soon adapt.

The Benefits

Your little one is able to settle in their own sleep space without disturbance from you coming in and out of the room.

Once they are comfortable and used to the new sleep arrangement, you’re likely to find that your little one sleeps more soundly, wakes less through the night, sleeps longer stretches and stops waking early in the mornings.

No more creeping around when coming to bed or getting up in the morning.

Having your adult space back is a huge positive.  

The number one thing to remember is to transition your baby into their own room when the time is right for you and your family. 

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