Babies Should Sleep in Parents’ Room for First Year, Experts Say

Sleeping nearby – but not in same bed – advised for first year, pediatricians’ group says

The guideline American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sleeping with your infant in the same room but not in the same bed. This will lower the risk ofsudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); ideal it would be this to be practiced for the first six months of the infant’s life, and even up to 1 year as it will reduce death ratio up to 50%.

It is quite reasonable choice as the parents are near the baby, and anything that the baby requires they can provide with like feeding, comforting and monitoring. However, it is advisable forthe infant to sleep on a separate sleeping place such as crib or bassinet, but never on a soft surface like couch or armchair.

Likewise, the guideline does not recommend for the babies to sleep with their mother, they should be in mother’s bed only when they are supposed to be fed. A professor of pediatrics at Cooper Medical School in Camden, N.J.,Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter says, quoting: “Babies should be brought to bed for feeding, but following feeding they should be returned to a separate sleep surface”.

Breast-feeding reduces SIDS by amazing 70% claims Dr. Feldman-Winter. Hence, mothers should breast feed their babies as much as possible even if they fall asleep during feeding time. They should just secure their beds, beds have to be free of loose sheets, blankets, pillows, or other soft bedding that may cause suffocation of the infant.

Statistics say that eachyear in the United States about 3,500 babies die from sleep-related deaths, including SIDS. In the nineties the death ratio dropped because a national safe-sleep campaign was introduced where it was emphasized that the babies should be placed on their back while sleeping.

TheAmerican Academy of Pediatricsadvises that aside the room sharing and breast-feedinga safe environment should be created, such as:

  • Place your baby on a firm surface with its back on it. Use crib or bassinet with firmly fitted tight sheet.
  • In order to reduce the risk of SIDS, do not use home monitors like wedges or positioners.
  • The crib should be bare without any soft bedding like crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys.
  • Do not expose your baby to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.

Even though the risk of SIDs is highest in the first months of infant’s life exactly up to the fourth month, soft bedding should be further on excluded of use as it represent risk as well as for older babies.

There are pediatric specialists who claim that room sharing is rather controversial, like Dr. David Mendez, a neonatologist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami. He claims that there are parents who do not like to share their room with the baby, and if they are smokers it should be more advisable for the baby to be in another room. However, soft bedding should be completely excluded.

Here is what he says, quoting, “Having the baby on a firm surface on his back and keeping soft pillows and loose bedding that the baby can get tangled up in out of the bed or crib – those things probably play a much bigger role in preventing SIDS than being in the same room with the baby”.


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