6 Room-sharing Tips You May Not Know About
Co-sleeping, as I’ve previously shared with you, has several benefits. However, this topic usually raises an eyebrow, especially here in our beloved land of the free.
The primary reason for that is there’s a risk of parents rolling over their baby. This is why a journal concluded that “A substantial reduction of SIDS rates could be achieved if parents avoided bed sharing.”
Let me clarify, though, that co-sleeping doesn’t always have to be bed sharing. There is another method known as room sharing.
There is another method known as room sharing.
As the name suggests, you are sharing just a room with your baby but not your bed. And more parents prefer this method for the following reasons.
Why Room-sharing Is Preferred to Bed-Sharing
Room sharing gives you more sleep. We as parents want to always make sure our babies are alright. hence, we would like to have them nearby as much as possible.
Bed sharing is a very nice way of ensuring our little ones are within reach, but others are worried it might pose some risks. There are the adult pillows, blankets, and adult themselves that may cause suffocation of the infants.
Room sharing then is seen to be the safer option. It gives the benefit of having our little ones nearby without the risk mentioned above.
It’s easier to transition from co-sleeping. When you practice co-sleeping, it’s almost always a given that you will have a hard time moving your children to their own room. They will get used to feeling someone else’s presence in the room with them.
With room sharing, however, they somewhat have that space already. They have their own bed; hence, they will not have a hard time adjusting.
Your baby may sleep more. Let’s admit it. We adults don’t sleep for eight hours straight. There are midnight toilet visits, early morning rehydration needs, etc. Every time we get up, our baby may be disturbed when we move.
This is particularly challenging if our mattress is so soft that a small movement creates a big impact on others who are in the same bed. Putting them in a separate bed may help eliminate this.
Room Sharing Tips
Now that we have established that room sharing has an upper hand when it comes to co-sleeping, let me share with you what I and other moms have proven to be effective ways of implementing room sharing.
Tips 1: Use your child’s room. If your baby’s room is big enough to accommodate another bed or at least a mattress, by all means, use it.
This works because your little one won’t associate your room with sleep. They will get used to the colors, the ambiance, and everything in their room, which should be what our babies should identify with sleep.
Once you start gradually reducing your presence in the room, your little one will not have a hard time adjusting as the environment is the same. It’s only your presence that’s slowly missing.
Tips 2: Set up the environment you want your baby to get used to. Environment doesn’t refer only to the painting and decors inside the room. It also includes the lighting, the temperature, even the aroma.
Of course, there’s no hard and fast rule regarding this as our babies have different preferences, but it is us as parents who have to adjust to their wants.
For example, my baby likes a cold temperature. But I easily feel cold. Instead of my baby adjusting to me, I had to adjust to her preferences because anyway I won’t be in that room for the rest of my life. What I did then was to wear sweatshirts and socks every time.
Tips 3: Choose a bassinet that can be attached to your bed. We all know that babies, especially infants, have to be fed every now and then even at night. They also have to be comforted often.
Having a bassinet within your reach makes it easier for you to wake up and do these tasks. This also meets your needs if you’re practicing attachment parenting.
Tips 4: Use a bassinet that may be used for at least six months. Our babies grow fast. Thus, it’s not unusual for them to outgrow their cribs.
Choosing a bassinet that lasts for quite a long time lessens the need for your baby (and you as well) to readjust often,
Tips 5: Determine whether you want to practice co-sleeping long-term or not. If you have the target date in mind, you can gradually tiptoe out of the room maybe once or twice a week until your little one is used to sleeping on their own at night.
It can be six months or a year even. It all depends on you and your baby.This will also help you become emotionally prepared to leave your kids on their own.
Tips 6: Be consistent. Once you start gradually moving out of your baby’s room, stick to it. It may be a little challenging at first, but you have to suck your fears up.
But, of course, you’re not leaving them all alone. You can use baby monitors so your mind will be pacified. When your kids are sick, though, you can make an exemption.
You may stay in their room the entire time because this will save you from walking up and down the hallway to attend to your children’s needs.
The downsides of room sharing
Although room sharing is really beneficial, note that it has some caveats, too, especially for us parents. Here are some of them:
You hear everything. Being a parent for the first time raises our anxiety levels by several notches. Although that’s not altogether bad, it may be bothersome at night.
Having our little ones nearby means we hear their breaths, hiccups, tiny snores, and everything in between. That’s cute the first, but it may leave us sleepless most nights.
I remember counting my daughter’s breath rate until around midnight, and when there would be brief pauses, I feel my heart stopping for a while. I would then research if pausing between breaths is normal or not.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to be aware and alert at all times, but I think I took it a bit too much. And a lot of my friends told me they’ve done the same thing.
You check your baby constantly. As what I just mentioned, when you hear everything, you tend to check everything. This doesn’t just deprive you of sleep, but it disturbs your baby as well.
I remember having to touch my baby’s chest often to check if she’s still breathing or her heart was still beating. It woke her up almost every time I did that really.
Your baby may be dependent on you. Of course, babies are dependent on us, right? But when do we start teaching them independence? When they’re 18?
As mentioned in my previous point, we may have the tendency to keep a check on our little ones when they’re nearby. When they move little or fuss a little, we’re always there to comfort them.
That’s not a problem at all, but they may associate our reactions to their sleep patterns. What I mean is, they may get used to having our presence around. So when they cry, they know you’re there to pick them up and lull them back to sleep.
If this happens regularly and for a long time, “hello, eye bags” then.
Should you still practice room-sharing?
As what I usually say, it depends. It all depends on your preference.
But if you were to ask me, I’d really do it. It has several benefits anyway. First, it lessens your need to walk down the hall often to feed. Then it helps lessen your anxiety. And last, it develops a better bond between you and your little bundle of joy.
Of course, it has its downsides, but remember that these are already part of parenting. You have to sacrifice a little so your baby can sleep peacefully at night.
And don’t worry, every sleepless night is nothing compared to the joy of seeing your little one sleeping safe and sound. Just follow the room sharing tips above and prepare for the downsides, and you’ll be alright.