Despite American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations to the contrary, new research published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics indicates that babies will likely get more sleep and remain asleep for longer periods of time if they have their own room at an early age.
The new research also finds that room-sharing is somewhat of a gateway to bed-sharing - a big no-no so far as the AAP is concerned, since the practice significantly increases the risk of unintentional injury, SIDS, and other hazardous habits found to be risky for babies, like the use of blankets and pillows.
AAP guidelines suggest allowing infants to sleep in their parents' room (but not their bed) for at least six months and "ideally for a year" in order to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) - a condition which the CDC says was responsible for 1,600 infant deaths in 2015.
Babies may not get as much sleep in their parents' bedrooms as they do in a room of their own, and they may also be more likely to go to bed in conditions associated with an increased risk of sleep-related deaths, a small US study suggests.
"One of the reasons we wanted to explore this is that the evidence is really weak for 6 to 12 months", states Paul.This lack of evidence led the researchers to address the question of the effects of parent-baby room sharing on sleep habits and quality for infants 6 to 12 months old.
To better understand the association between room-sharing and sleep, academics led by paediatrician Dr. Ian Paul, analysed surveys from 279 mothers who delivered at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
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The "later independent sleepers" comprised 27 percent of the participants and were babies who learned to sleep alone between four and nine months.
At four months, children who slept independently in their own room averaged 45 minutes longer stretches of continuous sleep than those who shared a room with a parent.
According to the researchers, at nine moths, babies in their own rooms slept about 40 minutes longer at night and over 20 minutes overall, compared with babies sharing a room with their parents.
"A leading hypothesis in SIDS causation is that failure to arouse makes the infant more vulnerable to dying from SIDS", Moon, author of an editorial accompanying the current study, said by email. Image credit: Babyboxco.com " 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. By sleeping in the same room with their babies, parents may be able to better monitor them and notice if their breathing changes. For one, it doesn't represent the USA population at large. She said the mothers in the study were overwhelmingly white and wealthier than the average woman in the United States.
Now, a recent study led by Ian Paul made a decision to analyze the best sleeping conditions for babies aged four months to nine months old. In fact, sufficient rest is crucial for proper brain development in young children, experts say. "After 6 months, since SIDS deaths are much less common, parents can have greater discretion in choosing what works best for them".
The American Academy of Pediatrics Safe to Sleep Campaign suggests that no soft bedding - including bumpers - be used in cribs.