Baby's Bedroom is out of Earshot

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Baby's room on different floor from our room

August 2003

Our baby is six months-old and still sleeping in our room. We find ourselves tiptoeing around our room anytime she's sleeping. We'd like to move her into her own room, but the layout of our house has posed a problem since the designated baby room is on the first (main) floor, while our master suite is on the second floor. Is it safe and otherwise okay to have a baby on a different floor? Are there parents out there with a similar arrangement? Does sleeping in the same room past six months-old pose problems later on? She's still waking up once a night to nurse, so having her in a another part of the house would be logistically difficult. One less desired option is for my husband and I to move our bedroom to a first-floor room next to the baby's, but that room is not large enough to accommodate our king-sized bed. Worried mother

Buy a baby monitor. That way you can hear every sigh, cry or giggle even though she is a floor away. My husband and I sleep upstairs while our baby is downstairs. The baby monitor has solved the problem. Our daughter slept in our room until she was two months old and waking once or twice a night to nurse. At two months she started only nursing once a night and then by three months had stopped waking at all most nights. I think that one reason that she has started sleeping through the night is because I don't hop up once I hear her rutching in her crib. I don't want to go down those stairs unless I have to...I'll give it five or ten minutes and usually she is back to sleep. Still, she wakes up before sunrise about once a week which precipitates a trek down the stairs. I keep a light on in the hallway or living room so that I can see where I am going when I am headed to her room. The situation has really been better for both of us. anon

We also have a second floor 'master suite' and all other rooms downstairs. We moved our son out of our room at 4 months. We did end up moving downstairs for a little while, just to get used to the new arrangement. We felt better being closer to him until he was sleeping through the night more regularly. Really, it hasn't been bad. Yes, sometimes we had to run downstairs instead of down the hall. We made very good use of our baby monitor! Now, I have the confidence (and experience!) that if he so much as calls out in his sleep I wake up- and that's without the monitor on anymore and up one flight of stairs! But when I know it's my husbands turn to wake up with him in the morning I somehow manage to sleep through the whole waking routine and still sleep in. So sleep on a different, smaller mattress for a little while if you have to. It will definitely all work out. From a Happy Mom.

We moved our baby from our bedroom upstairs to his bedroom downstairs when he was 3 months old. From 3 months to 9 months, he woke up to nurse 1-2 times/night and I'd go downstairs and nurse him in his room. Since 9 months (he's now 11 months), he sleeps through the night and I don't need to go down until 6 or 6:30ish. We use a monitor at night and for naps. He seems happy and sleeps great. I think your baby will do fine! Debbie

This is from a co-sleeping mother of a six-month-old who grew up sleeping on a separate floor from her parents and remembers far enough back to recall the diaper service guy's face. It wasn't fun for me as a baby to be so far from mom, and I don't think it was very fun for her either. I'd say try to avoid being on a separate floor as long as possible. According to Dr. William Sears (see ), sharing sleep will not harm your baby and will make breastfeeding, and sleep, much easier. Many cultures keep young children in their parents' bed well past weaning with no ill effects.

If you need her to nap separately, maybe a blanket on the floor in another room would do? Oh, and do you really have to tiptoe? My son only wakes to loud, sudden noises, not general moving around. Jennifer R

Our house has a similar layout with our room upstairs and our son's room downstairs. We moved him downstairs when he was around 4 1/2 months and have had great success with him in his own room. He's now 11 months. We have a monitor set up so we can hear him if he cries or when he's up and playing in his crib. You may want to consider cutting out the middle of the night feeding and just comfort her so she doesn't get used to eating in the middle of the night. Then she'll learn to sleep through the night and your life will feel great with a full nights sleep! You could also have her nap in her room if she's not already doing that to get used to being in her crib. Good luck! Stephanie

Get a baby monitor. The transmitter goes in the baby's room, and the receiver is portable. anon

We moved our baby downstairs when she was about 6 months old. She's right below our room so I hear her eventually when she wakes up crying (once a night at most). I don't see a safety problem as long as you have adequate smoke alarms, your baby isn't able to climb out of bed his/herself, and you can get yourself safely downstairs in the middle of the night if you need to go to the baby. Fran

We don't have the two floor dilemma so I can\x92t speak to that but we do have our son (13 months old) still in our room in his own bed/crib. We try to take care of our business in the bedroom (putting away clothes, making the bed, etc...) before we put him down \x96 it\x92s become habit now. If we need to go in there after he goes to sleep we are quiet but we certainly don't tiptoe around. We\x92ve found that sleeping in our room has acclimated him to sleep though a moderate amount of 'quiet' noise., if that makes sense (quietly getting something out of a drawer, whispered conversations, tossing and turning at night, undressing, etc...). Some of this might be his personality/disposition, some people are just sounder sleepers by nature, but I think that his exposure to some noise during sleep has helped him sleep better too. We also keep a very low bedside light on so we have some light to get into bed, which also doesn't seem to bother him. I don't think I would feel comfortable sleeping on a different floor, especially with a babe so young, but that's just me and there may be other moms who feel differently. I like having my son close - I can check on him periodically throughout the night when I get up to go potty, I can hear him sleep and this helps me to know his sleep patterns better (and it's just plain sweet), and I'm right there if he does awaken scared at night (which doesn't happen often but it has happened). We also all get to wake up as a family in the morning which I love. When he was waking to nurse at night it was nice to have him right there too. I haven\x92t noticed and \x91problems\x92 that have occurred due to our sleeping arrangement but my son is still so young and so any problems may not have surfaced yet. Also, we haven\x92t tried to move him to his own room yet, but it will happen soon as we have a second on the way and there isn\x92t room for two in our room past the first 6 months. In addition, as I see it, a problem to one may not be to another. What one family sees as no privacy another may see as a healthy attachment lifestyle. I\x92m not in any hurry to have \x91my own space\x92 so I don\x92t feel deprived of privacy. He\x92s going to be little for such a short period of time, I\x92m happy listening to him breathe at night. S.W.

My daughter slept in our master bedroom (in a crib from 12 weeks of age on) until she was 12 months old. The designated baby room was at the other end of the house (same floor). We had been using the future baby room as a guest room, which we still had need for when my mother came to visit (at least once per month). We too dealt with tip-toeing around since the baby went to sleep so early, but overall I felt more comfortable knowing my daughter was in the room with us. I worred a lot about whether I would hear her at the other end of the house (we never had good sound quality with any of the monitors we tried). At one year of age, we finally got organized and converted the guest room to her room. She didn't have any trouble making a transition to sleeping in a different room (I imagine that sleeping in the same crib, with same sheets etc helped). When we first moved her to the new room, we put a futon on the floor and one of us would lie with her until she fell asleep. Around 15 months of age, we stopped this practice and removed the futon. Until 2 years of age she did well going to sleep on her own, in her own room. Now that she's 2, we're have a few ''clinginess'' issues but I don't think they're related to the timing of when we moved her to her own room - - rather just because she's 2. Once a co-sleeping mama

I join you in your concern about having a baby sleeping on a different floor of the house. If it were I, I would do whatever it takes to stay on the same floor.

As an aside, we do a family bed, and you would be amazed at the ambient noise that a sleeping infant/toddler/child can tolerate; of course, I don't mean loud music or shouting but the opening and closing of a drawer, soft talking, 4 in a King-size bed with 3 additional empty bedrooms

Before having children, I would've thought nothing of having their room on the first floor and mine elsewhere. Now that I have children, I'm grateful we're on the same floor and their doorway is directly across from mine. I can check out any noises in about 4 steps - coughs, labored breathing, bad dreams. Also, one child did not sleep through the night until well after 2 years old. For your peace of mind and getting your own sleep, I suggest reconsidering your sleeping arrangements. Best wishes. Lori

Our house setup is very similar to yours. Our son slept in a crib up in the master bedroom until he was about 9 months old,. At that point he tended to wake up, see us in the room, and cry for our attention --so we moved him to the downstairs bedroom. He adjusted very well (at that age he didn't really need to nurse at night anymore); in fact, he tended to sleep better in the crib in his new room, perhaps because it was a little quieter.

What we did do was get a baby monitor and put it in his room, with one of the receivers in our room, so if anything went wrong we would hear it (we're both very sound sleepers). It has worked very well -- perhaps a little too well, in that we hear everytime he wakes up and makes a sound -- but at least I never worry that there's anything wrong that I don't know about. Karen