6 Tips for Sharing Your Bedroom with Your Baby

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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.

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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.

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 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.

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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.

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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!).

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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.

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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?

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21 Responses to 6 Tips for Sharing Your Bedroom with Your Baby

  1. Erin March 12, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    We loved our co-sleeper, though Alex generally just ended up in bed with us….for a year! We are transitioning him to his own room right now, and that has been interesting. If he can make it in there until 4 am, I usually give in and bring him back with us until wake up time. But, we will be revisiting the world of newborn co-sleeping (and everything else) very soon (October!), so I am watching what you guys are doing and taking lots of notes. I never even thought about using the pockets in the co-sleeper…

    There is nothing like waking up to a little one snuggled up against you :-)

    • Becca March 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

      We could only make it till about 5 months with Lena and then her kicking and restless sleeping was too much for us! Thankfully she was ready to sleep train then and took to it pretty well. Admittedly, I did NOT and had to leave the house while Elliott let her cry it out, but… oh, the sweet relief when she slept so trustingly and so peacefully in her own bed. There are so many stages with kids and sleep!

  2. esther. March 12, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Looks like you have this thing down pat!

    • Becca March 14, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

      Thanks, Esther!

  3. OM March 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    We are co-sleeping too, and I’ve found what works for us is keeping everything but the co-sleeper out of our room. I know diapers (clean ones, mind you!) would take over our room if I changed him there, and I need some kind of mess-less sanctuary. I won’t move him out of our room until he sleeps consistently through the night, though: I do not look forward to having to get up to feed him!

    • Becca March 14, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

      I admire your resolve to only have a co-sleeper in your room. We could probably do that now, I think. I’ll consider switching to that eventually!

  4. Joy @ Caspara March 12, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

    I have co-slept with all four of my kids . Like you, we only had one bedroom with our first! :-). I second everything you say here, but for us, we got rid of our co-sleeper between #3 and #4 and just bought a regular pack-n-play with the bassinette feature. Since the co-sleeper was never actually level withh our bed anyway, it doesn’t seem any different, and then we could extend its use. Our co-sleeper had gotten one side stuck somehow. And for some reason our babies hated it anyway. Plus, the pack-n-play has the diaper storage stuff added anyway.
    Funny anecdote, though, we never had an actual crib for our babies. We just used the co-sleeper as a pack-n-play type bed when the babies got older, then had them sleep on a mattress on the floor. But with Wyatt, a friend gave me a crib, and I figured… Well, why not? My girls are disgusted by it. They keep talking about how it looks like a jail. Wyatt seems to agree; we never get him to sleep in it for more than a couple hours and when he wakes up in it, he is seriously ticked. So now, it’s just taking up space. *sigh* ;-)

    • Becca March 14, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

      What a funny story about the crib! Lena slept in a pack n play until she was about 9 months old because we were in so much transition. She really likes her crib now, though, or at least doesn’t seem to mind it. I like that the mattress is thicker; she would wake up with red knees from sleeping on that thin little pack n play mattress. Maybe that’s the only advantage I can come up with of a real crib… besides aesthetics. :-P

  5. Bethany Colas March 13, 2013 at 4:11 am #

    Are you planning on Lena and Gil rooming together? We are going to do that with our girls, so I have been thinking about when and how to make that transition.

    • Becca March 14, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

      Yes, we are! We’ll wait a few months, I think… unless this goat bleating business gets to us too much. I’m not sure what it will be like for Lena. We’ll probably have to wait for Gil to be sleeping through the night (or almost) first, though. Any thoughts about it?

      • Bethany Colas March 14, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

        I thought we’d probably wait until Abby’s 3 or so months old and, like you said, is sleeping mostly through the night, but she is so loud that I think we’ll soon be ready to have her out of the room. That and she’s pretty consistently nursing about twice a night, so I feel like I could get up twice without being too exhausted the next day.

        One friend of mine roomed her boys together pretty young and she said she was really nervous about doing it, especially because she was afraid going in to nurse the youngest would wake the oldest. But I guess her oldest just slept through the whole thing and got used to having mom come in one or two times a night. I suppose there will be some trial and error. We have a small guest room/office that I think we’ll move Abby to first. Good luck to you whenever you make the transition!

  6. SingingDrJosh March 13, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    Hey, where is the bedside bag of snacks? A little birdie told me that breast-feeding makes moms hungry – why get out of bed at night (or go back to sleep hungry) if you don’t have to?

    • Becca March 14, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

      Haha, I need to get a bag of snacks again! Elliott wanted the granola bars in his lunch…

  7. Jen March 13, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Ditto on the snacks. And water, you are thirsty and need lots of hydration in the early BF days.

    I love your storage solutions! If we ever have another, I will certainly do these things. It took me a while to get that organized.

    • Becca March 14, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

      I’ve GOT to drink more water. I just bought a 24-oz tumbler with a lid and straw to carry around the house and to the car with me. It’s helping me drink a little more, but still not enough!

  8. Stefanie March 18, 2013 at 4:24 am #

    Great tips! We share a bedroom for the first 6 months with our babies. It’s almost time to get it prepared for #4!

  9. Jasmin May 4, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    This article gave me the motivation I needed to get organized for our 2nd due in 5 weeks! We are still sharing a room with our 19 month old and will be adding the newborn to the mix. Some organization is really going to be needed in the first few weeks. We are in a rented bedroom for now and are in the process of buying a house. Hopefully I can get unnecessary items packed away and give us a little more space. My plan is to have the newborn in our bed with a bedrail on my side. That way I can nurse on either side without worrying about her falling out. No room for another crib/bassinet/co-sleeper for now, so that will have to work until we move.

    • Becca May 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

      Jasmin, I’m so glad this helped you! Sounds like your life is going to get busy very soon, but you have a wonderful plan going into it. Good luck! Let me know if the suggestions help in your new reality in 2 weeks. :-)

  10. allbaby April 6, 2016 at 11:11 am #

    Our second still has the same bedroom as us. It is indeed FINE – well said!!! Our house is so small we’re on lockdown after 8pm unrelated to where anyone is sleeping. Thanks

  11. Rosa Marrio July 3, 2017 at 9:55 am #

    The arrival of a baby is an explosion of happiness for everyone, but for parents, it is also a time for changes at home both in the form of furniture and emotions. It is so important to learn how to organize the spaces so that you and your baby can proceed hand in hand. Thanks for sharing some greater tips which are really helpful.

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