Why We Aren’t Leaving Our One-Bedroom When We Have a Baby

Our house kind of looks like this, if you cut off the top floor. Our house not pictured because um, SAFETY.

You might recall that a few months ago we almost bought a house, but then we didn’t. What I didn’t say in that post was that I was 5 weeks pregnant when we had the home inspection and the thought of moving, having a mortgage, and having a baby all in the same 6 month period felt like too much to me.

We really love our current home and instead of feeling the instinct to buy a house and settle down permanently, I felt like I wanted to limit the other change in our lives as much as possible. To stay where we already know we are comfortable when we bring our boy home.

Our current house is a one bedroom house, not an apartment. Yes, those exist (but rarely). It’s a little 500 (ish) square foot, 11 foot wide row house on a narrow street in Philadelphia.

Our floor plan is pretty open and simple. You walk in the front door and you’re in the living room. The back half of the house is the kitchen. There’s a spiral staircase that leads to a fairly large (for the city, tiny for the suburbs) master bedroom and bathroom. That’s it. From my couch I can see the whole first floor. I like it that way. I never get scared that someone’s hiding in a closet or something. We can easily chat with each other from anywhere in the house. It’s my favorite place I’ve ever lived (and that’s saying something – it’s my 19th home, 20th if you count the summer I spent in the Delta Gamma house).

Before we really decided not to move, we took a look at our space and tried to decide if we could realistically fit a baby in our current home. People bring babies home to one bedrooms all the time! So it must be possible, right?

Our master bedroom has a large nook that would fit a baby crib. He’ll have his own designated little corner. Our dresser will have a changing pad on top of it. Our large closet will house baskets of baby clothes. One less chair in the living room would give us space for a rocker. We’ve got a spot ready for the swing and we can easily fit a bassinet at our bedside. Plus we have a basement to store anything we aren’t currently using.

Sometimes I wonder if my nesting instinct will kick in (still waiting on that) and I’ll wish our guy had his own nursery. I make myself feel better by considering that the AAP encourages parents to keep their baby in the same room to sleep for the first year (to reduce SIDS). Once I think that over I’m usually like, well, he’d be in our room anyway even if he had his own room.

Overall, I’m just not that worried about it. Moving during pregnancy would stress me out so much more than just staying put and enjoying the home we already feel comfortable in. It’s close to the amenities we need (i.e. grass for Archie) and more than a couple of coffee shops. We know our neighbors, we live mere blocks from our friends, and we feel safe here. Truthfully, I can’t imagine spending maternity leave anywhere else.

When our lease is up in April, we’ll probably move to a two bedroom somewhere nearby. I’ll miss this place when that time comes but for now I know it’s where we are meant to be for this time of our lives.

Now mamas, tell me, are we crazy for staying put and squeezing in to our one-bedroom? Or is this actually totally normal and all of the adorable blogger nursery’s have just changed our expectations?


  • Totally totally totally normal! (We’re staying where we are, too.) I think we see all these gorgeous blogger homes and forget that those 3+br houses out in wherever cost the same as a 1br house in a city. Living in a home that has space for a separate nursery might be realistic for people our age who live in the ‘burbs or in the country, but it just isn’t for us! And a lot of the “must-have” items for baby are really… not crucial, especially if you don’t have the space for them. Babies don’t actually need much!

  • Chelsea Yoo

    I totally think it is doable, especially for the first year. We have an almost ten month old and live in the Chicago suburbs, so we have lots of space (and she takes up plenty of it. But, here is the thing. I’m pretty sure that babies just expand to the amount of space you have. Anything can work!

  • My niece is one and my little sis and her husband have been making do with a 1 bedroom in San Francisco. I think they know at some point they will have to move, but they love their rent controlled apartment and have just decided to deal with the lack of space at which time it must immediately be dealt with…whenever that is. I think you will be fine for at least a year.

  • HaleyFaye

    Do what works for you! And I think it’s doable if you want it to be. My husband got a new job in January, I got pregnant at the same time. Then we planned to buy a house for this job. Listed our
    condo and house hunted but nothing felt right. Turns out he hated the job and it was bad for our family, but we wanted to stick it out till after the baby for insurance reasons. We just couldn’t stick out this awful job, so he got a new job a couple months ago. Our condo sold for asking price in cash the day after we re-listed it, and we found a wonderful house 10 minutes from his new job. In a nice area, just one we’re not that familiar with. And I’m due in October, plus we have an almost 2 year old. It’s been super stressful, but we’re now in a place that’s going to be good for our family. We have a better space for our babies, my husband is close by, and he’s at a job that doesn’t kill his soul and make him hate absolutely everything. None of this was our plan when we got pregnant, but now that we are *finally* on the other side of it, I’m excited for our growing family and the place we’re at right now.

  • Kim

    Actually this really gives me hope because I cringe at the prospect of moving out to the suburbs when its time to start a family! Maybe you’ll want it eventually, but I love the idea that you don’t have to completely overhaul your life to accommodate your first child, and can make changes slowly as you feel ready! Though we don’t have kids, my husband and I recently moved from a 2BR in a super affordable city to a studio in London and shockingly the transition hasn’t been as difficult as you’d think. I definitely agree people expand/contract as needed and its possible to make many situations work, especially when the pros outweigh the cons. We might share a tiny space (and the lack of storage does grate on my nerves), but our location is ah-mazing and its totally worth it at this stage in our lives. That being said, I do think we’d need to upgrade to a 1BR if a baby were in the picture 😉 Good luck and keep enjoying city living!

  • Totally possible. Our little dude barely uses his nursery and most of what he needs is in our bedroom right now anyways! It’ll force you to only have the things you need, which is great.

  • notime2bbored

    No problem I think. We moved from a 1 bedroom to a 2 bedroom apartment when I was pregnant to have a nursery. Our baby never slept in her own bedroom, because we found our dream home just before that next lease ended, well before she was a year old. I still feel that we could have avoided that first move!

  • We lived in a one bedroom until our toddler turned 4 and we welcomed home another baby… We ended up moving when the babe turned 4 weeks and that was not super fun, but we were happy to get into a larger place that we owned. It is definitely possible and we loved our small little home. It was nice when our first started walking because there was only so many places she could go and it was easier to keep an eye on her. We were super lazy and set up a pack n play in our living room so she could nap in there if necessary.

  • Kimmie Merkley

    I am a firm believer that a tiny baby does not need their own room, so you’re just fine staying where you are. My husband and I lived in small (450-ish sq ft) apartment in Chicago with our son until he was 18 months old. There were some times when it was hard, particularly after he was sleep-trained and went to bed before 7 in our kitchen, but it definitely worked. It saved us a ton of money and stress from moving with a little baby, plus I loved that stuff didn’t accumulate since we didn’t have room.

  • Stephanie Snyder

    You are totally right about not needing a nursery for at least the first year. My son is 2.5 and he still sleeps with us almost every night. He does start in his room now, but really, it would work out if we only had one room for sleeping. The problem lies when they start acquiring toys and kid stuff, which seems to spread and multiply on a daily basis. But as long as you keep baskets or other organizational options out to corral everything, I think for at least the first year your current place will be fine. 🙂

  • My husband and I moved into a two-bedroom only to have our son sleep in our bedroom with us anyway (13 months and counting). What would have been the nursery is more of a guest bedroom/ used for extra storage. lol You’ll be okay! 🙂

  • Anna Whitmore

    I think not moving is a great choice. We moved into our home just before our baby was born and it was totally overwhelming. I was trying to adjust to being a new mom while also trying to get comfortable in my home. I think staying where you are is great. It might be a little tight but tiny babies don’t need that much.

  • This is my issue!! I am so worried about having a baby in a one bedroom apartment. But here in the Bay Area, the two bedroom apartments are CRAZY expensive. You sound like you got things mapped out in your one bedroom. I am kinda jealous that you have a whole house instead of an apartment!!

  • From the perspective of someone who isn’t pregnant, but just went through the home buying process…stay where you are! The whole thing takes forever and adds mounds of stress, even after you move in. I think you have the perfect plan!

  • I don’t think it’s crazy! I actually think that having more space means having more *unnecessary* stuff because you have the space for it. I realized quickly after we had our daughter that so much of the stuff we bought and were given went unused or barely used. We could have survived off the bare minimum honestly. We kept her in a pack n play in our room for 6 months. Her nursery was hardly used during that time except to hold all the stuff we didn’t need.

  • Katrina Taylor

    Love this! We live in a 2 bedroom home (which is a crazy idea to many people we know considering we live in rural Minnesota, not a city), and don’t have kids yet. But if we ever had a baby, I’d do the same thing! Even with 2 rooms I’d want to keep that extra bedroom as a guest room, not a nursery. Plus, I think the idea of sharing a room with a newborn is so cool and a total no brainer. You’ll be waking up a lot in the middle of the night…why not make it so you don’t have to leave your bedroom?

    So many families around the world have homes that consist of one single room–they have lots of children and make it work. That’s an extreme example, but I think we Americans often times believe we need way more space (and just stuff in general) that we actually do. I commend you for streamlining and simplifying!

  • I never got that whole ‘nesting’ instinct… I wish I had, maybe my house would be cleaner / more organized! I don’t think you’ll regret staying in a one bedroom for a while – and when/if you get tired of sharing a room, you can always move, hopefully when life is less stressful! (Personally, I got tired of sharing a room with my little after like 6 months because I missed chatting with my husband in bed and getting ready without the lights on, but those are really just minor details!)

  • NOt a mom, but definitely one of those people who doesn’t like big disruptive changes all at once, so I think staying put is grand. Better to figure out what works for you than jumping in because you feel like you have to, you know?

  • Kelly

    It sounds like you already have such a great plan! Can’t wait to meet the little one!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • Not crazy at all. No reason to move immediately, especially while pregnant or with a new baby.

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