Have you ever thought about sharing a bedroom with your baby, or — if you’re already a parent — is this something you’ve already done? There are so many reasons to share a bedroom with your newborn, including lack of space in your house, the ease of feeding during the night, the nervousness of a new parent, and the simplicity of comforting a newborn who is sleeping nearby instead of across the hall.
Sharing a bedroom with your baby can last for a few days or a few years. When Lena was born, we lived in a studio apartment. We shared a room with her because there was literally no other option… our apartment was only one room!
With Gil we chose to share our room again because it seemed to allow everyone to get the most sleep. Gil sleeps better when we’re nearby or quickly available to soothe him when he wakes. As a nursing-on-demand mother, I sleep better when I can feed him as soon as he’s hungry and doze off next to him while he nurses.
Sharing a bedroom has required some adjustments for us, though, because this is our room and our space. There’s a lot of baby paraphernalia that does not need to occupy space in our bedroom. The rest of the baby gear can be stashed away in Lena’s bedroom (which is really now — gulp! — the “kids'” bedroom!), ready to be used after the newborn haze dissipates and our lives take on some routine again.
I thought I’d share what has worked for us organizationally during these newborn days. I’d love to hear your thoughts and advice as well!
1) Safety first. Prepare to share your bed with your baby… just in case he ends up in it.
In the first photo in this post, you can see that Gil is lying on a very tidy, uncluttered bed. Elliott and I brought Gil home from the hospital and transformed our bed in order to minimize any risk of suffocation for our newborn. To do so, we removed our thick down pillow top and our down comforter, took two pillows off the bed, and turned up the temperature in the room. Now we can sleep with no more than a sheet on the bed and no more than one flat pillow for each of us.
It’s a drastic change in the winter when you’d really like to snuggle under a thick comforter! But the risks were too great. Anytime I nurse Gil in bed and doze off next to him, at least I have the peace of mind that I have eliminated as many common suffocation risks as possible.
If this advice has you nervously looking at your bed, wondering if you should overhaul everything and start fresh, clean, and simple, there is no better time! I recommend Coaster Furniture, which has a lot of beautiful bedding options, including many that would be comfortable and safe for a new baby, your partner, and yourself.
2) Keep a minimum of diaper changing supplies within easy reach.
I stored the basic diaper changing supplies on our dresser: diapers, wipes, and Vaseline. (We use Vaseline for almost every diaper change as a barrier cream to protect Gil’s skin.) I keep extra wipes and diapers in Lena’s room and replenish the stash as needed. I also store a bottle of infant massage oil, Vitamin D drops, a bulb syringe, and an infant thermometernearby in our room.
3) Have a good trash solution.
We have a Diaper Champfor cloth diapers and a hands-free lidded trashcan for disposable diapers, wipes, and other trash. I keep all our cloth diapers in a box next to the Diaper Genie. All of these things are right next to the bed where I change Gil.
4) Use all the storage in your co-sleeper, if you have one.
We’ve enjoyed our Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeperand I recommend it if you are looking for a safe co-sleeping solution for your baby. I also like the co-sleeper because of the pockets on both sides, which I use to store extra burp cloths and crib sheets. There is a storage compartment underneath the mattress that is great for storing swaddling blankets as well.
5) Stash just a few items of baby clothing in your room.
We bought this handy basket at IKEA. It’s just the right size to store about 5-10 onesies, a couple of hats, some socks, and a few swaddle blankets. That’s all we’ve needed on a regular basis these first few weeks. As he grows his wardrobe will get a little more elaborate (…if his mother has the energy to elaborate beyond a onesie!).
6) Buy or make an easy on-the-bed changing pad.
I folded this waterproof quilted sheetin half and pinned the sides together with a few safety pins to keep folded (even in the washing machine). Gil loves lying on this soft pad in our warm bedroom. He’ll often look around peacefully and kick away without wanting to be held or tended to. All my diaper changing supplies are within easy reach right behind me on the dresser and extra clothes are at my feet in the basket under the bed.
I have to admit I haven’t peeked into any of my friends’ bedrooms to see how they handle sharing a room with their baby. It never even occurred to me that there could be a system to it until Gil came along, space was limited, and simplicity was my goal. With two kids under two needing constant attention, there was no longer room in my brain for color-coordinated tote bins!
How have you made simplicity and organization work in small spaces with your baby? Or what have you admired in friends’ homes?