In the Netherlands, it is becoming increasingly normal that (new-born) babies, at least temporarily, sleep in mommy’s and daddy’s bedroom. It is actually quite old-fashioned, because our grandparents generation didn’t know any differently. But what are really the pro’s and cons of ‘rooming-in’?
First some terminology:
- Cosleeping is sleeping with just an arms length of distance. The parent(s) and the child can sense each other. This can be done in the form of both rooming-in and bedding-in.
- Rooming-in: The parent(s) and the child sleep in the same room, but not nessecarily in the same bed.
- Bedding-in: The parent(s) and the child sleep on the same surface.
- Cobedding: Two kids of the same age sleep in the same bed (twins).
- Cosleeper: A baby bed that is attached to the bed of the parent(s); the baby sleeps very close, but has its own surface to sleep on.
As you can see on the photo, we have deliberately chosen to have our kid sleep in our own room. For children there is nothing safer and more familiar than their parents on their side in the first years. Even while their sleeping they will feel safe and comforted if they can hear, feel, and smell you.
It is also practical for yourself. You can respond quickly to your baby’s signals before they start crying. Moreover, if you’re planning on breastfeeding it particularly easy to have your baby right next to you.
Rooming-in is also recommended for the first 6 months by the ‘Stichting Wiegendood Nederland’ (the Dutch SIDS foundation). A study in New-Zealand** found that parents sleep lighter when the baby sleeps in the same room and they detect the signals of unrest sooner. Rooming-in stimulates the natural vigilance of the parents.
This leads us right to a major con. Some parents sleep badly and too lightly because their nights rest keeps getting interrupted by every little sound of their little one. Being fatigued also means being less alert and that’s won’t make your new-born happy either.
In short, if you can get your rest, even with the little one in the room, then rooming-in is absolutely positive, but you shouldn’t do it at your own expense. We’re at least going to try it, if it doesn’t work out, then we’ll simply move him to his own room to his own crib.
*The brand of the hanging crib is Leander , available in many places, we’ve bought this one second-hand on markplaats.nl (a Dutch version of eBay).
**Study reference: Scragg RK et al. Infant room-sharing and prone sleep position in sudden infant death syndrome. New Zealand Cot Death Study Group. Lancet 1996; 347; pp. 7-12.