Room sharing with baby can help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but it also means everyone has less sleep
The ideal room for a baby to sleep in is his parents’ bedroom according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The baby shouldn’t be in a separate room until at least six months, or even better twelve months. He can sleep in a crib or bassinet (or in a co-sleeper that’s safely attached to the bed) but should be in the same room with you. Research reveals that when babies sleep close by, it helps prevent and reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
The journal Pediatrics published a study, which points out the downside and said: “Babies don’t sleep as well as their parents” and by extension, researchers found that babies who slept in their parents’ room slept less while babies who slept in their own room before four months, slept longer, and for longer periods. These babies were better sleepers at nine months when compared to those who transitioned to their own room between four and nine months but also to those who slept in their parents’ room.
Research reveals that getting enough sleep in infancy improves the chances of sleeping well in childhood and study seems to suggest that, it could be a real sanity saver getting babies out of the same room as their parents.
Research also found that babies who shared a room with their parents may have blankets, pillows, and other unsafe stuff around them when they sleep and are more likely to end up in their parents’ bed during the night. Interestingly, consistent bedtime and routine are also associated with babies who slept in a different room, something that has been proven to help babies sleep better.
However, it’s not that simple as with most things in medicine.
Sleeping many hours at once, or early sleep consolidation isn’t necessarily a good thing as it was revealed in a commentary accompanying the study. SIDS prevention is associated with the ability to wake easily. The exact thing that protects the baby may be the waking up that happens with room sharing.
Everybody knows that infancy doesn’t last forever. The fact is that over time, most babies give their parents a break and learn to sleep through the night.
It’s also easy to breastfeed the baby when they sleep nearby. It’s a simple fact that breastfed babies tend to eat more often than formula-fed babies because breast milk digests quicker than formula. Breast feeding is more difficult, and mothers may give up and switch to formula earlier when babies are in another room. In every situation, every child and every family is different; it’s about weighing risks and benefits.
Room sharing can support breastfeeding and help prevent SIDS. In addition, it doesn’t mean that room sharing won’t allow babies to have a consistent bedtime and bedtime routine. It may be tempting, but it doesn’t have to be that way to keep the baby up until the parents go to bed. When other rules of safe sleep get broken or when room sharing turns to bed sharing, then the benefits of room sharing diminish. No matter where a baby sleeps, good sleep routines and safe sleep should happen.
If the relationship between the parents suffers because they don’t feel that they should be intimate near the baby, that’s not good for anyone either. At the same time, it’s not good for anybody if room sharing means parents aren’t having enough sleep because they are woken by every baby squeak and whimper.
It’s essential that parents know the recommendations and the facts behind those recommendations. Be trainsed and be comforteble performing cpr on an infant and if possible own a child aed at home. They should work in conjunction with their paediatrician to make the best decisions for their child’s safety and the overall health and well-being of their family once they have that information.