In my home and neighborhood, many people commonly share beds and rooms. How can I help everyone to get good sleep?
That’s common! Many families have family members who share rooms and beds in multiple places in the home when it’s time to sleep. Sometimes that is a family choice and other times that is a family necessity. In either case, everyone still needs to sleep and there are a few things you can do to make sleeping well a bit easier.
First, think about the ages of the people sharing the rooms and beds. If there is a wide age range between siblings or even adults and children, be mindful of bedtimes. Make sure any little ones are still getting an early bedtime if possible (around 7:30 p.m.) even if an older brother or sister, or even mom or dad, go to bed much later. Having consistent routines in place can also help with managing different bedtimes depending on everyone’s age.
Second, think about noise and distraction. One thing you can think about doing is putting a white noise machine or other relaxing sound machine on if a little one has to go to bed earlier than others in the family. Older children or adults can even use something like safe earplugs if there is other household or community noise (although be sure that someone can hear your baby if she has a problem).
Last, but certainly not least, think about safety. If you’re bed sharing with an infant, make sure there is no soft bedding or pillows around your little one and that she can be monitored. Remember, too, that if she can roll over that she may be able to roll out of the bed and be injured. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against bed-sharing with infants. However, the AAP recommends room-sharing! In an emergency, the AAP notes that items such as a box, basket, or dresser drawer can be used as a firm, flat sleep service; however, a replacement should be made as soon as possible.
Find more information about safe infant sleep in the summarized American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.
About Dr. Erin Leichman