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Deciding Where Baby Should Sleep

Jennifer Bright on

I remember when I was expecting my first son, I spent hours and hours setting up his nursery: washing and folding clothes, organizing baby supplies, and choosing just the right crib, changing table and dresser. His dad and I strongly believed babies should sleep in their cribs, thinking that would be the solution to get us all the most amount of sleep.

Our son didn't have that same belief! He cried, wailed and screamed to be freed from that crib. In hindsight, a bassinet in our room might have been a better solution for all of us.

Here's how our mommy M.D.s -- doctors who are also mothers -- decided where their own babies would sleep.

"Before my daughter was born, I bought a co-sleeper, which I put right next to the bed," says Dina Strachan, M.D., a mom of one daughter, a dermatologist, director of Aglow Dermatology and an assistant clinical professor in the department of dermatology at New York University in New York City. "I loved it because it made breastfeeding my daughter at night so much easier. I worried that if I had to get up out of bed and walk to another room, I'd drop her because I was so tired. The co-sleeper was great for her first few months."

"Before our twins were born, my husband and I decided to put both of their cribs in the same room," says Jennifer Gilbert, D.O., a mom of twins and an ob-gyn at Paoli Hospital in Pennsylvania. "In hindsight, I'm not sure that was the best decision because I think they wake each other up. But my husband isn't very handy. He would have had to take a crib apart to move it to another room, and that wasn't going to happen!"

"My husband and I tried different strategies to get each of our children to sleep," says Amy Baxter, M.D., a mom of three, the CEO of and National Institutes of Health researcher based in Atlanta, Georgia. "My first baby sometimes slept in his crib, and sometimes in my arms as I was trying to breastfeed. My second baby had worse reflux than the others. And perhaps because of that, he fell asleep most easily in his car seat, which kept him more upright. During my son's first two months of life, we kept his crib in our room next to our bed. Our third baby didn't sleep well in her crib. So my husband and I scooted down in our bed to make a space above our heads, and our baby slept there. That minimized any danger of her rolling out of bed, me rolling onto her, or her getting trapped in the covers. We pretty much did whatever worked to get our kids to sleep."


"Like most new parents, my husband and I had to adjust to our children's unpredictable sleep schedule," says Stacey Weiland, M.D., a mom of three and gastroenterologist in Denver, Colorado. "We set up a separate nursery with a crib, changing table, dresser, and rocking chair. I also set up a twin bed in the room. This worked out great for nights when I was up late feeding the baby, and we could lie down together and cuddle. I could even catch a few zzzz's while the baby slept in the crib, and I wouldn't be far away when she woke up."

Dr. Rallie's Tips

When my husband and I were expecting our second child, we worked for weeks getting the nursery ready. Our oldest son was 13 years old, so we didn't have baby things left that we could use. We had to start from scratch.

We painted and decorated the nursery, and we bought a beautiful new crib, and I couldn't wait to see my new baby sleeping there. As it turned out, he was born four weeks early, and he was so tiny! When I brought him home, I couldn't bear the thought of putting him in the nursery all by himself. My husband and I hadn't thought to buy a bassinet to put in our bedroom, so on that first night at home, my sweet little baby slept in a big laundry basket beside my bed. He slept in our room for about four or five weeks before I felt comfortable moving him to the nursery. -- Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., mom of three, nationally recognized health expert and family physician in Lexington, Kentucky, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to Getting Your Baby to Sleep"

Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, co-founder and CEO of family- and veteran-owned custom publisher Momosa Publishing, co-founder of the Mommy M.D. Guides team of 150-plus mommy M.D.s and co-author of "The Mommy M.D. Guide to Losing Weight and Feeling Great." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Copyright 2019 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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