How long should babies share a room with their parents?
Expectant parents spend focused time and energy preparing the nursery for their newborn only to find the baby has become a fixture in their own bedroom. Parents who are exhausted with the interrupted sleep schedule and feeding demands of their growing newborn often want to know when they should move the baby into their own room.
The current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) safe sleep guidelines state:
Infants should sleep in the parents’ room, close to the parents’ bed but on a separate surface (room sharing) for at least six months but preferably a year.
It is believed (not proven) that room-sharing reduces the risk of SIDS. The theory is that if the parents are close to the infant, they will notice and be able to help their infant quickly if they are struggling.
Less than a year after the AAP released their safe sleep guidelines, a study was published in Pediatrics—the official journal of the AAP– about room sharing and sleep outcomes. The study concluded that “room-sharing at ages 4 and 9 months is associated with less nighttime sleep in both the short and long-term, reduced sleep consolidation, and unsafe sleep practices previously associated with sleep-related death.”
The study also found that babies who room-share beyond 4 months of age were four times more likely to be pulled into their parents’ bed during the night, and two times more likely to have pillows, blankets, and other unsafe sleeping materials close by during sleep. Sharing a bed with your baby and sleeping with loose bedding is known to increase the risk of SIDS.
Sharing a room with your baby can also cause parents to get less sleep. Sleep deprivation can be dangerous and harmful for both the parents and the baby. Inadequate sleep can cause strained relationships, postpartum depression, anxiety, unsafe practices, and even Shaken Baby Syndrome.
So how long should babies room share with their parents?
As with most things, there is no one size fits all. Every child and family are different. It is important to remember that these are guidelines and that families should consider what is best for them. Most infants have gained enough weight to be able to sleep through the night without night-time feedings between 3 -4 months of age. If you are still waking with your infant after 4 months of age, you may want to consider moving the infant into a separate room allowing you all to sleep better and further reduce safety risks.
Safety precautions can parents take for babies sleeping in their own room
Putting your baby to sleep in their own room can cause many parents anxiety. Many parents are turning to safer crib mattress alternatives. One such mattress is the breathe-through crib mattress.
Safe Sleep Technologies, formerly known as Secure Beginnings, is the pioneer in infant safe sleep products. Safe Sleep Technologies created the first completely breathe-through crib mattress in 2009 that is completely, and conveniently washable.
The Safe Sleep Breathe-Through Crib Mattress is the only crib mattress that leading AAP physicians write prescriptions for infants who must tummy sleep for health reasons.
The company championed the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to include the scientific test data on their breathe-through crib mattresses and were successful. In the 2016 AAP Safe Sleep Evidence Based, Technical Report, it states air-permeable mattresses are preferable to mattresses that are not air permeable.
The Safe Sleep Breathe-Through Crib Mattress gives babies a safer, longer, better sleep based on science. It also gives worried parents peace of mind.