When it comes to new parenting anxiety, there’s no issue that’s more likely to affect your blood pressure than sleeping arrangements. Should you co-sleep? Put the baby in a cot beside the bed? What about a pack-and-play? Is the crib really the best option? And what about the physical location of such things — did you go and drop all that money on a Pinterest-worthy nursery for nothing? Or are you supposed to have the baby in there from Day 1?
In short, there are about a dozen theories on what’s best. Some moms sleep upright in the rocker with their babes who refuse to be put down, others turn to co-sleeping. Still others do the cry-it-out method and attempt to get their babe acclimatized to the nursery right away. Basically, it’s a personal decision that moms and doctors often make together since every kid is so darned different. New moms are often consoled with sentences like, “You have to do what works for you.”
But there are still those official recommendations to take into consideration, and as of this week there’s a new one from the American Academy of Paediatrics. According to the organization, they’re now recommending that infants sleep in the same room as their parents, but not the same surface, until they’re at least six months of age. If possible, they go on to recommend, parents and infants should actually share a room for the first year of the baby’s life, because it could decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by up to 50 per cent.
Because the causes of SIDS are still largely unknown there are a couple of theories as to why the risk may be lower if an infant shares a room with his or her parents. One theory is that a parent’s sixth sense is more likely to kick in if they hear the baby struggling to breath.
“A baby that is within reach of their mother may have more comfort, or physical stimulation from being in an environment with another person,” Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter, who co-authored the report also added.
SIDS is most common in babies younger than four months, with studies showing that the risk is lower for babies who are placed to sleep on their backs on firm, baby-approved surfaces. The report also noted that breastfeeding has been linked to decreased SIDS by up to 70 per cent, but the reason for that link is unknown.
In the States, SIDS and other sleep-related deaths affect about 3500 babies a year while in Canada the number is roughly 150. Enough to freak us out when it comes to anything sleep-related, that’s for sure. But then again, everything as a new parent pretty much freaks us out.