(Points for those of you who recognize that I learned the expression in the title above from watching countless hours of Peppa Pig), now on the task at hand: when to, how to, and even why to room share.
Ready: You have to prepare the space to room share. Whether you are sharing a room with your baby or he is sharing a room with his big brother (more on this kind of room sharing next week), you need to get the space READY.
Tip #1 - Yes it matters if she can see you, hear you, and smell you. The older your baby gets, the more social she becomes, and the more likely she will be to pop up and cry until you get her. It is typically easiest when you first bring baby home, but by 4 months or so, it can get frustrating for everyone.
Tip #2 - Create a room within a room. Place her crib on a carpeted surface, use a high quality white noise machine at the foot of her crib and use another one at the foot of your bed -- ideally creating a wall of sound blocking your two spaces. (And yes, it has to been on all night) This does not take up any more room and helps immeasurably. Test the white noise effectiveness during the day, play around with the levels accordingly.
Tip #3 - Make a visual barrier between you and your baby. You can get creative here. You can do a screen between the bed and crib, you can hang a curtain (check out Ikea for this!), you can use a wheeled hanging rack with fabric to create a wall. If you have more room, place an open book shelf like the one in the pic above in between the bed and the crib.
Tip #4 - The room has to be dark. Invest in good black out shades for baby and for you. We love gro-anywhere black out shades. If you have your infant or baby in the travel crib, invest in a snooze shade. This is a phenomenal option that works well and other than the white noise, you won't need to add in a visual barrier.
Steady: After you have the room ready (and you can do this any time), create routines that end with your baby getting settled and his final sleep cues happening in his sleep space. You will quickly give away your secret if you do all soothing on your bed and then walk around the corner to his crib. Instead, feed in a chair in your room, go into his nook and/or divided space, turn on the white noise, draw the curtains if necessary, sing your last song, say your night night words, and put him down there.
And Go! You have done your set up, you have created sleep nook/separate sleep space routines, now you have to act like he is another room. If you have a sleeper who is still waking a lot expecting to see you, consider sleeping out of the room for a few nights and having your partner tend to the baby so you can break the expectation of you. It can take a week or so of consistency depending on the age of your child, but you can pull these changes off.