Can you sleep train while room sharing?

As a baby sleep consultant in Northern Virginia, I am often asked if a family can sleep train and still room share. A family may choose to room share for several reasons. The baby’s room could be far from the parent’s room so they don’t yet feel comfortable having the baby sleep in their future room, maybe they want to follow the AAP recommendation of room sharing for the first 6 months, or maybe they just don’t have the extra room just yet.

The exciting answer is YES! You absolutely can, but you need to keep a few things in mind.

In this blog post I will walk you through the key things to do in order to make room sharing a success.

Make sure baby has a comfortable sleep space

I often see families room share with baby in a bassinet for way longer than that baby fits comfortably in there. I honestly think the bassinet needs to go after the first 4 months. Babies like to move around to get comfortable, and a bassinet impedes that. I recommend you get a pack and play WITH a mattress that is comfortable and leaves no gaps between the mattress and the sides of the pack and play, or better yet, buy a mini crib (either used or new!). We used a mini crib for my son for the first year of his life and I loved it because while he was in our room it was visually pleasing, roomy enough for him, and had a small enough footprint to fit comfortably in our bedroom. The height was also adjustable and easier to deal with than a pack and play which you have to put down low almost immediately after the newborn days.

Create a barrier

This is particularly important if mom is breastfeeding. Place the crib out of eyesight from where mom and dad are sleeping. You can even get creative and use a large walk in closet (as long as there are vents are clothing is safely away from the crib). I often recommend the slumberpod (use code:apresthebump$20 for a discount) for clients who are room sharing because baby has their own little room that is now also ideally pitch black.

Use a sound machine

Guess what? Adults also make noise in their sleep. Your husband probably snores. Do everyone a favor and use a sound machine! This will also keep baby asleep when you walk in for bedtime at a later time.

Once you are ready to sleep train, you will pick a method and follow it as you would even if baby had their own room. I will be honest and say it is a little harder to do when baby is right there in the room with you (as I experienced first hand myself with my daughter and started to slip back to early morning feeding after a few days in an attempt to get a little more sleep),but get on the same page as your partner and hold each other accountable (I was doing it alone!).

You can also choose to sleep in the living or another room while you sleep train baby in your room and come back once baby has learned independent sleep skills (if done properly your nights should be resolved within one week!).

Because it is even harder to stay consistent and be held accountable when trying to sleep train while room sharing, this is a time I highly recommend hiring support in the form of a sleep consultant. Having someone checking in on your family every day is going to make the difference between following your sleep plan, or giving up in the middle of the night when you just want to get back to sleep and your motivation is low. If that is where you are right now, schedule a call with me today and believe me, I will make sure you stick to your plan and make your way to excellent sleep in no time!

Once baby has independent sleep skills, you decide when you are ready to move them to another room (maybe even a siblings room!) but in the meantime, the family gets to rest and thrive!