Baby in a One Bedroom Home

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi there! My partner and I live in a 1 bedroom apartment with our 3 month old daughter. I've started to read up on sleep training, and a lot of what I'm reading involves putting our child in another room. Unfortunately, that's not an option for us, so I'm looking for advice from other parents who've successfully sleep trained in a 1 bedroom. As a first-time parent, I am at a loss.

    Our situation: Our apartment includes a living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. The bedroom includes a long, narrow closet that runs the length of one of our walls. We don't have any walk-in closets and we don't have a long hallway. BUT her mini-crib will fit in the closet. We have a sliding door that we've removed from the closet, which we could put back up if that would help. Our daughter currently sleeps in a bassinet next to our bed.

    What is most important for sleep training? 

    Thoughts on how to set up our bedroom to facilitate her sleeping well and independently as she gets a little bit older? We are not planning on moving in the near future if we don't have to. 

    Thank you! 

    I guess it would be helpful to understand what you are trying to accomplish with sleep training. It is a little early to stop feeding overnight as most drs recommend continuing to feed at night until around 6 months. We started a bedtime routine around the 12 week point so that our baby could start to understand the pattern. That really helped him start going down easily at night after several weeks of repetition. If that's what you're trying to accomplish then I would think it would be something you could do in a 1 bedroom apartment, assuming your child goes to sleep earlier than you. 

    We recently got our daughter through to 7mo in our 1-bdrm. Our sleep training for her simply included getting her on a reasonably consistent schedule (bed always between 7 and 7:30), and a routine (bottle, book, singing, bed). We gave her a lovey. We put a dohm in the room for white noise. We played a "shhh" song in the room. Black out curtains (think blanket clipped over the window shade) might be helpful for summer. A baby monitor was helpful to keep an eye on what was going on.  We did some cry-it-out. We sometimes caved and bounced her to sleep. Ultimately, feeling out what was right for her and the routine seemed to be the keys. We would wait for her to fall asleep and then quietly get into our bed.

    One note...our baby outgrew her mini-crib at 4mo. She started scratching the sides and would keep herself awake doing so. The full size crib solved that.

    Good luck!

    I feel your pain. I'm a Choice mom (single mom by choice) with an 11 month old daughter. She has her own room but I resorted to the
    "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" book like the bible!  Good luck!…

    What I'm envisioning is that the mini-crib will just barely fit in the closet.  That just doesn't sound so good to me - too much like a cage.  And, emotions aside, I don't think a sliding door is going to block out much of the sound. Could you put the mini-crib in the kitchen? Maybe temporarily replace your kitchen table with a folding table, and fold it up at night?

    I assume you're looking down the road, because 3 months is a little early for sleep training. Some pediatricians advise against it until the baby is a year.  You may find when you get there you don't need to do much. If you are lucky!!!

    The narrow closet sounds scary. In my opinion, it is not a good idea to put a baby in such a small enclosed space with no adequate air circulation. If the goal is to teach her to fall asleep on her own, why don’t you just leave her alone in your bedroom and go to the living room while she falls asleep? 

     I live in a 3br house in Richmond, but my 11 month old’s crib is still in our bedroom. I did CIO at 5 months (3 months is still too young to sleep train- babies don’t have sleep cycles and sleep hormones until 4 months). The first couple nights there was a lot of crying, but he quickly learned to put himself back to sleep when it wasn’t a feeding time (like if he woke up an hour after eating). After a few days, he went to sleep with minimal crying, and he’s been sleeping great ever since! It doesn’t matter if you are in the room. A mesh bumper can block the baby’s view, if you are comfortable using one. The most important thing is consistency. Pick a method, and stick to it! Sleep training was amazing for my family. I was a different person from sleep deprivation, and am so happy everyone sleeps now. Congrats on the new baby!

    We have a 6 1/2 month old who sleeps through the night and only have one bedroom/living area with kitchen etc downstairs thus we spend a good amount of time in our loft/bedroom area.  We successfully sleep trained (no night feedings, sleeps in crib from 7p -6a).  We did what many of these other parents did.  Started by initiating a simple bedtime routine around 3 or 4 months (warm wash cloth or bath, diaper change, pajamas, sleep sack, nursing, book, singing).  Transferred to normal sized crib at 5 months.  Did gentle cry it out (books Happy Sleeper and Sleepeasy Solution were pretty helpful). Couple difficult weeks but have had great success for many weeks now.  We don't use a sound machine since I was worried about our babe becoming dependent on it and we do spend time in the room after he's gone to bed.  We of course have to be quiet but we are not silent.  We are within very close proximity and it works.  I imagine that if you can be in the living room while your baby's in the bedroom, even better!  We do have black out shades which seem to help especially for nap times.  Also, right around 5 1/2, 6 months we started night weaning (as advised in The Sleepeasy Solution) and that really helped streamline our nights.  We will be keeping this living arrangement for as long as we can and it is working for now.  Now that our baby understands his routine and where he sleeps, I don't think he is bothered by the fact that we are close by and awake.  

    What we did in a similar situation was have a pack-n-play in the bedroom and a crib in the living room. We would put the baby to sleep in the bedroom, then go about our evening in the rest of the house (and we had a fair bit of evening left - we are huge supporters of the Happy Baby, Healthy Sleep Habits book, which espouses a pretty early bed time).  Once we were ready to go to bed, we would quietly pick up the baby and move him to the main crib.  Typically he did not wake up during this transfer, and if he did it was usually a brief snuffling about.  I suppose you run the risk of the baby waking back up fully and having to repeat any sleep training work you'd done earlier in the evening, which will be trying. But still worth it, in my book.  You'll get good at the transfer - making sure both rooms are dark and quiet, turning on white noise if you use that, etc.  I often wondered if our baby wondered why he woke up in a different spot from where he went to sleep, but he never seemed surprised in the morning, so I think it was just the normal routine for him.

    You (the parents) can just sleep in the living room for 3 nights or so when you sleep train.  We recently moved from NYC where this is common practice :) I also highly recommend the book the sleepeasy solution - great overall sleep strategies and techniques for night weaning or maintaining one feeding while sleep training.  Good luck!

    Hi. I can write about our experience with trying to sleep train in a similarly small apt, but remember that all babies are different! Our son was not one that we could just put down drowsy but awake and he would miraculously fall asleep. We also were in a one bedroom apt his first year of life. The two things that made a huge difference were creating a clear bedtime routine and ‘sleep schedule’ and putting him in a closet. We found that until there was a door between us and him, he’d wake up way more often. But, we also were slower to sleep train—starting our bed routine at about 2 months, but continuing night feedings through 6 months or so. It was a combination I think of bed routines, having him in his own space, and him just getting older that really started to make a difference. Hope this helps! 

    It sounds like you have a good set up. Just follow Ferber can get her down consistently. She hopefully will stay asleep when you both go to bed.  And, and I think the book talks about this (Bringing up Bébé certainly does), if she cries out in the middle of the night, wait a moment- she might get herself back down.  This is a skill she's learning.  Worst thing to do is to pick her up right away.  As for timing as others have mentioned, we employed an overnight doula for our first, when he was under 2mo. and we started then.  He's slept very well since, continues to do so (at 6).  White Noise app is great.

    Have a blanket and pillow on the LR couch if possible, in case one of you needs to be able to sleep fully.

    We sleep trained our daughter at around 4 months in a very small one bedroom apartment (using the Ferber method but I don't think the method is that relevant here). We put her down to sleep in the bedroom and hung out in the living room while she got herself to sleep, then we went to bed. It took one or two nights before we could start going to bed at our normal time. She now goes to sleep around 6:30 and we go to bed around 9. We're quiet when we go in and we've never had any issues with her waking up, even when we get up frequently to use the bathroom or drink water throughout the night. She's now 6 months old, so I don't know if it will continue to work when she gets older. If not, we may be moving our bed out into the living room until we can move to a bigger place.

    Although we have a two bedroom, when we “sleep trained” our daughter she was still sleeping in our room.  We used The Happy Sleeper,which I can’t recommend enough!!  It is kind of a modified sleep training, with a lot of emphasis on the child never getting scared that the parent won’t come back. Like everyone is saying, you wouldn’t be doing a sleep training portion right now, but there are things you can start doing to encourage your daughter to figure out ways to self soothe. Right now you will still be very involved, but you can still start getting her comfortable falling asleep without as much assistance.   We worked on some of the skills around 3 to 4 months. At around 5 1/2 months we did what they call The Sleep Wave with her falling asleep in the bassinet in our room. We were able to make this work for us, and eventually we transitioned her to her own room, but it wasn’t a necessity. 

     Hope this helps 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


One-bedroom apartment and a toddler

March 2005

I have a 16 month old son. We live in one bedroom. He slept in bed with us for 8 months but now sleeps in a crib. We did ''sleep training'' and he cried and now he sleeps through the night, more or less. The problem is, he doesn't seem to sleep well when we're in the bedroom with him. Since starting the sleep training a month ago, my husband has slept on the couch. I slept at a friend's for 2 weeks. Since I've been back, my baby has started waking up earlier in the night -- it's as if he hears/smells/senses that I'm just feet away from him and he can't sleep knowing this. When he was alone in the room he slept until 6am. Now he wakes up between 4-5 and is still tired. It's so hard to let him cry when I'm in the room. I'm afraid that he just won't be able to sleep if we're inthe same room as him and don't know what to do. Anyone else struggle with this one-bedroom issue? Will he just start to sleep deeper at some age? He seems to be a light sleeper -- my husband tosses and turns a lot and just that wakes him up...I really don't want to re-arrange my home so that he has his own bedroom, but I'm afraid I might have to. I'm tired! And I would like to sleep with my husband again at some point...What have other parent's experiences been with the one bedroom issue? When do babies start to sleep deeper? Advice? Suggestions? Consolation? I'm SO tired!

Is there another enclosed space (besides your bedroom) in your 1- BR apt that would fit your child's crib? We also live in a 1-BR apt, but converted the walk-in closet down the hall from our bedroom into a small baby's room. It's just big enough for our son's crib and not much else, but we decorated/painted it in cheerful colors and it has worked out wonderfully for all of our sleeping sanity! --Baby loves his 'room'

My husband and I lived in a one bedroom apartment until our son was 18 months old. He slept with us until he was about five months old when we figured out we were keeping him awake and vice versa. We had a wide but shallow closet in our hallway that has wooden doors on it. We took off the doors and his crib fit there perfectly. We put up curtains to block the light. Sound was still an issue (no door between the hallway and our living area) and we pretty much hibernated in our bedroom with TV or books when he was asleep. We all slept much better though. anon

You might try playing 'white noise' such as a CD of ocean sounds, a radio set to static, a humidifier, or a fan. This is a long shot--it probably won't work--but at least it's cheap and easy to try. David

We had the same problem, and at 5 months, finally decided to rearrange the apartment and put our bed in the living room. We moved some other stuff into the bedroom, to make room, and the bedroom has become our son's room. We were reluctant to have to sleep in the living room, and it's occasionally annoying (when my husband has to stay up late working, for example), but we are soooo much happier this way than trying not to breathe while we slept for fear of waking our oh-so-sensitive sleeper. The baby and I both sleep a lot better. I say, it's worth it to move the furniture -- you'll get to sleep in your own bed again, with your husband, and it's not really that bad to be in the living room. now a less-tired mom

Crib in parents' bedroom and night-time wakeups

Sept 2003

Hi, after perusing the many helpful postings on sleep there is a topic I'm still wondering about--having baby's crib in the parents' bedroom. I have a seven-month old son who previously slept like a champ but now is waking up fairly often in the night. Since we are only a foot or two away from him, it's difficult for us to ignore his cries espcially when he pulls himself up and stares at us. I know that co-sleeping is an option that works for many folks but our guy really seems to prefer the extra room to roll his crib affords--when we sleep together, there's nothing but kicking and grumbling from him, and hardly any peaceful sleeping. On the other hand, crying it out seems very difficult to sucessfully implement also. I'm sure we are not the only ones who have a small apartment and not much space--how do others handle nighttime wakeups when baby is so close (but not in) the big bed? One-bedroom mama

We also had a tiny one-bedroom apartment when we had our first child. Initially, we slept in the same room (separate beds), but by the time she was about six months old, it was not working for the same reasons you point out. We moved her crib into the front room. Visitors were made to come at non-napping hours, my husband and I had to hang out in our room or the kitchen to socialize. It may sound a little fanatical, but at the time, the most important thing to us was sleep. It was one of those phases where a Victoria's Secret catalog would be lying on the bed and all my husband could say was, ''Boy that bed sure looks comfortable.'' Anyway, hope this helps. anonymous