Room-sharing with mother can be harmful for the baby

Room-sharing with mother can be harmful for the baby

The longer you leave a baby in the same room as a parent, the worse the outcomes are in terms of sleep. To decrease the chances for SIDS, the AAP advised that at infants should be at least six months old, and ideally 12 months, in the same bedroom, but not in the same bed.

The majority of the babies in the study - 62 percent - were already sleeping in their own room by four months of age, and another 27 percent of them made this transition by the time they were nine months old. "That led us to question that recommendation". These babies who slept on their own also got 45 minutes of sleep more at 30 months of age compared to those sharing the bedroom with their mothers. Similar trends were also observed much earlier, at babies 4 months old.

The infants were placed into one of three categories: early independent sleepers (those who were placed in their own room by four months of age), later independent sleepers (those who had their own room between 4 and 9 months), and those who still slept in their parents' room at 9 months.

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At nine months the gap widened and those who learned to sleep independently by four months had sleep stretches that averaged one hour and 40 minutes longer than babies who were still sleeping in their parent's room. The researchers followed up at 2 ½ years toddlers who slept alone by nine months and found that they slept 45 minutes longer per night, although total sleep time was roughly the same.

Moon and colleagues noted a need for further studies: "We strongly support more research, both about the physiology of infant sleep and arousal for room-sharing infants and about the consequences of room-sharing on parental and child sleep". Image credit: " This is important information", said Dr. Rachel Moon, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Virginia who co-authored the latest recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics, according to CNN.

She said the study raises questions about the safety of room-sharing, especially because of the evidence it can lead to the potentially unsafe habit of bed-sharing.

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Paul added,"Inadequate infant sleep can lead to obesity, poor sleep later in life and can negatively affect parents". And, the risk of SIDS declines significantly after 6 months, he said. He also notes that keeping babies close to the parents will increase the likelihood that unsafe behaviors, such as bringing the baby into the parents' bed to soothe them, will occur.

Paul acknowledged the study has limitations, however. Additional support was received from the Children's Miracle Network at Penn State Children's Hospital, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Institutes of Health/National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

What researchers found was it was all about establishing those bedtime routines: When a baby gets put to sleep, how often a baby is fed in the middle of the night and whether a baby is fed back to sleep or goes back to sleep on his own. Basically, families in this study were overwhelmingly white and wealthier than the average American.

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"During that time, be mindful that bed-sharing is a greater possibility, so mothers should be aware of this and take steps to avoid it", she said. "Some may decide to keep their infants in their room longer, while others may choose to move them into their own rooms". The study was published June 5 in the journal Pediatrics and included recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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