Having a new baby around can take a lot of getting used to. Not only are you going to be trying to keep up with your sleep, you’ll be responding to the ever-changing and more demanding needs of a newborn baby – which isn’t easy when you’re under pressure to keep your baby safe and happy! When you have a new baby the tempting thing is to immediately start putting together a nursery complete with a brand new cot, change table and all the decorative trimmings you can find. The thing is, your nursery may well be used as a changing and feeding room but your baby won’t be sleeping in there for a while.
If you are interested in keeping your baby safe while they sleep, the very first thing to know is that for the first six months of their lives, they will need to be in your room with you. Did you know that babies sync their breathing to yours? They need to sleep as close to you as possible in the safest way, so that they can mimic you and effectively learn to breathe on their own. Apnea is common in babies through the night, and they will often gulp or hold their breath. The unfortunate thing is that this can lead to SIDS, and the best way to prevent this is to keep the baby in your room until they are at least six months of age. The only problem is that when you have a baby, it’s not always easy to relax enough to sleep with them in the room! So, we’ve put together some of the best tips that you need to share your room with your baby as safely and comfortably as possible.
Create Their Own Space
It’s nice to have a nursery and eventually you’ll use one, but in the meantime, they need their own space in your room just for them. Now, you may choose to have a standalone crib, or you might choose to sidecar a cot to the side of the bed. Either way, your baby needs a flat, safe surface in which to sleep every night, and there is every chance that you’re going to see a lot of hours through that night. So, the best thing that you can do is to add a rocking or gliding chair in the corner of your room so that you have somewhere to sit and be with the baby at night. Your comfort is just as key as theirs, and whether you are breast or formula feeding, you need to have a good place to sit with your baby to create calm. Their own space in your room is going to be your space infiltrated! If you end up wanting to bedshare with the baby, make sure that you follow the Safe Seven Sleep Rules. Bed Sharing is only safe with these rules in place – all seven of them!
Let Go Of The Changer
Your baby needs to be in your room, but your changing table doesn’t need to be. Every single bit of space in your room needs to be used properly, and you don’t need a changing table at all in the bedroom. For those night time changes, use a mat on your bed, or walk to the nursery next door and use the changing table in there. Sharing your room needs to be comfortable to all of the people sleeping in that room.
Babies wake up at night time, and while you are sharing your bedroom, you need to think about how you plan to divide the nights. Personally I am a fan of the 50/50 approach. Parents – working or not – should be sharing the load equally. Sleep deprivation is not a joke, and you have to share the job properly. If you’re breastfeeding, your partner can get up to do the nappy or bring you a snack if you need help. If you’re not breastfeeding, they’re equally as capable of making a bottle and feeding the baby. Take the time to work out a schedule. If one parent is working, this parent can do the 6pm-midnight jobs with the baby and you can take over after that. Sleep deprivation is only a good thing when it’s a shared job and even if you are at home all day, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be doing nothing. Taking turns is important for your sleep health and your mental health.
Set Up A Feeding Station
It can be very dangerous to fall asleep while you are feeding a baby. So, remember the glider we mentioned earlier? Set it up with a low light in the corner of the room. You can add a tablet or smartphone stand on a tabletop nearby, too, so when it’s time to feed, you can keep an eye on a show or movie. This will help you to stay awake through the feed. Add pillows and supports for your arms, and keep a station of water for yourself, too. Feeding is thirsty work, and you have to do what you can to stay up during those many, many night feeds.
Think Lights and Sounds
For the corner of the room where you need to feed a low light will keep you together and see everything you need to see while you feed. It can also help you to have a good white noise machine, to keep the atmosphere as soothing as possible in the shared room. If you keep a white noise machine close to your baby, you can drown out the sounds of your own movement, which can often help!
No one wants to wake a sleeping baby, but you need to allow life noises to happen as they happen and your baby can get used to it! Take the time to create the best possible environment for your sleeping baby, and you’ll be comfortable as parents, too. Your bedroom can be a comfortable place for all of you with the tips above.