No nursery? No problem. A growing number of new parents are adhering to the recent national recommendations that babies sleep in the same room as parents for the first six months, and preferably the whole first year. In addition to safety and health considerations, the reality is that for many apartment-dwelling parents, there may not be space for a separate nursery anyway.
This practice of sharing a room is called co-sleeping, a term that is often confused with bed sharing. Although some parents practice bed sharing with their baby, this comes with safety concerns outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Co-sleeping—sharing a room (but not the bed)—is a safer option.
Setting your bedroom up for baby begins with positioning a bassinet or crib in one corner of the room. Infants can sleep comfortably in many bassinet models for the first few months, or until they are able push up on their hands and knees. Cribs take up a little more space but may give you a longer shelf life.
If the master bedroom has hardwood or tile floors, it’s wise to put down soft carpets. This makes it easier to sneak in and out of the room quietly without waking up your sleeping baby. Plus, padded flooring can later serve as a spot for tummy time.
Hanging a semi-sheer curtain next to the crib can serve as a partition when you want a feeling of privacy, while still allowing parents to be aware of their infant’s needs. Avoid placing any fabric within reach of the crib or basinet: A baby’s bed is safest when it is free of any items other than a fitted sheet. (Similarly, keep any hanging racks for baby clothing out of reach of the crib.)
Complete your new “nursery” by setting up a rocker in one corner of the room and purchase a small lamp with a concentrated beam. Localized light will make it easier for you or your partner to get much-needed sleep while the other is feeding your infant.