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The NHS advice is that your baby should sleep in the same room as you for the first six months. This is because the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death) is greater for young babies who sleep on their own compared to babies who sleep in the presence of an adult. Newborn babies wake often during the night and continue to need attention and feeding throughout the night – so it's also practical to be close to them.
Moving your baby out of your room at six months – what to consider
Like most elements of parenting, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sleeping arrangements. Many parents won't feel ready to move their baby out of their room at six months, and of course that's fine. Others though – particularly if they're light sleepers – will welcome the prospect of not being woken every time their baby stirs. How well you and your baby sleep while you're in close proximity to each other might not be your only consideration though. If you're short on space, having your baby in your bedroom might mean being creative with your sleeping arrangements. For example, if you find that there is not enough space in your room for a cot once your baby outgrows her Moses basket, you might consider putting a single bed and cot in another room, so that one of you can sleep next to her.
Similarly, if one of you needs more sleep than the other, then this partner may want to sleep in another room for a while, either until the baby sleeps for longer 'chunks' during the night (therefore allowing you a bit more sleep) or until she reaches six months.
Whatever you decide at six months, be aware that it might not make a huge difference to how much sleep you're actually getting. The days of blissful, undisturbed sleep could still be a few months (read: years) away and although it might not feel like it now, the 'baby years' do go by in a flash – and then you'll pine for the days when your baby was 'in with you', ungodly wake-up times and all. So, wherever you both end up (not) sleeping, try to remember that all babies sleep through the night eventually. Honest.
I thought I'd have an awful night's sleep worrying about him, but I didn't…I slept brilliantly.
Some people find it understandably difficult to move their baby out of their room at night. Going from being by your baby's side and hearing every breath and whimper to sleeping in another room can present a difficult transition not just for your baby, but for you as well. (You might even feel it more so than her!) It's very natural to feel this way. If you feel like sticking it out for a while, you may find that everyone settles into the new arrangement. Or you may want to bring your baby back into your room until you feel ready. As always – do what works.
Can I move my baby into her own room if I'm still breastfeeding?
When deciding whether it's the right time to move your baby into her own room, it's worth considering her feeding habits. Breastfeeding your baby during the night is undoubtedly easier when you don't have to get up and nip down the corridor to her room every five seconds. Having your baby in a cot next to your bed means you can easily scoop her up for a feed without getting up, which, at 4am on a chilly winter's night, is no fun at all.
Remember too that a baby sleeping in another room will have to scream all the louder to be heard, making it more difficult to settle her for a feed/back to sleep once you do get to her. Although when they get a bit older babies can start to self-soothe, many young babies are not ready to do this.
The biggest factor in keeping my son in with me was that I didn't want to get out of bed to do night feeds.
Some people find that putting their baby in another room at night helps reduce the number of night feeds and improves their baby's routine. Little noises and stirs that are audible when your baby is sleeping just two feet away from you will likely go unnoticed when she's in another room (depending on how sensitive your baby monitor is), meaning you'll be less likely to pick her up for a feed when she doesn't actually need one. If she's hungry, you'll know about it.
Having your baby in another room also means a non-breastfeeding partner may be better able to settle her with a bottle if she's hungry, or a cuddle if she's upset. If you can, invest in a comfy nursing chair, or armchair, to sit on when you're feeding and cuddling your baby in her room.
Can I move my baby into her own room if she isn't sleeping through the night?
If your baby is managing to sleep through the night on most nights, and she is six months old or older, she will most likely do very well sleeping in her own room. She might be a little confused and find it harder to settle initially, but it won't be long before she gets used to her new environment. She might even love having her own little room, free from the disturbances of snoring (we're naming no names, parents).
I'd probably wait until he is sleeping through most nights. Only because I'm lazy and wouldn't want to get out of bed!
If your baby isn't sleeping through the night yet, you may consider waiting until she is sleeping for longer periods before
turfing her out moving her into her own room. Or, you might want to give it a try now anyway. Some people find that it only takes a while for their baby to adapt to their new sleep surroundings, and others notice that their baby actively prefers having their own room and sleeps much better from the offset.
Co-sleeping – when to move your baby out of your room
Co-sleeping means sharing a bed with your baby – but there is an association between co-sleeping and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and the best way for a baby of six months or younger to sleep is on their back, in a cot and near to you.
If, however, you are co-sleeping and want to move your baby out of her bed, consider transitioning from baby sleeping in your bed to sleeping in a cot next to your bed, rather than moving her straight into another room.
What if I don't want to move my baby into her own room?
Remember that as long as your baby sleeps in your room until six months, it is up to you when to put her in her own room after that. Maybe you don't even have a spare room just yet for her to sleep in. Maybe you sleep better with her in your room, knowing that she's just an arm's length away. You might, after a year of taking your baby into bed with you halfway through the night, wake up in the morning and realise that she slept through in her own room, for her never to come into your bed again.
It's a very personal thing
It really is different for all babies and as long as your choices are safe, they're yours to make.
Where should my baby nap during the day?
Remember that your baby should sleep in the same room as you for the first six months. For daytime naps this means putting your baby down to sleep in a cot or Moses basket (or similar safe portable sleeping device) in whichever room you plan on being in during her nap.
If you like to use naptime as a time to get things done that you're unable to do when your baby is awake, make sure you still stay in the room with her (maybe this is the time to rehome the
kettle and biscuit tin ironing board to the living room).
Remember the rules of safe sleep for babies. They must be put to sleep on their backs, lying flat. Car seats and other baby seats are not suitable for prolonged sleep, including daytime naps, as your baby will be slightly slumped, meaning less air will reach her lungs.
Once your baby is six months old, you may choose to put her upstairs for her daytime nap, either in your room (if they're still sleeping in your room at night) or in her own room. Just like at night, make sure that you can hear her, be it over a baby monitor or through an open door.
If you choose to carry your baby in a sling or baby carrier, you may wish to 'wear' her during her naptime too. This will mean you have your hands free and can venture further than the living room – a big plus!
Of course, naptime presents the perfect opportunity for you to get some much-needed rest, too. 'Sleeping when baby sleeps' is made wonderfully easy by the fact that you can simply hop back into your bed and pop your baby in her nighttime cot.
What Mumsnetters say about when to move your baby into her own room
“I have three little ones and moved them all at seven months. Shockingly, all three went to sleeping through the night (or one wake at most) from the second night in their own room.”
“I think six to seven months is the perfect time to move them out; by nine months they know too much and will consciously refuse to stay in their own room.”
“We moved our son into his own room at six months and we all slept better for it.”
“I hated it at first but he was fine. I have a video monitor on all night by the bed, though.”
“When you feel it's the right time, do it, and if it totally doesn't feel good for you, you could always move him back to your room.”
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