How Long Should I Share a Room With My Baby?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated its guidelines for parents of newborns who are worried about the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS. One of the recommendations stated the ideal timescale for sharing a room with your newborn baby answers the commonly asked question of “how long a baby sleeps in your room?”
The new guidelines state the best option for new parents should be to keep an infant in their room for the first 12 months of their lives. There are many different ways a parent can handle the transition from sharing a room with their baby when they have solved the riddle of how long a baby sleeps in your room.
When to move your baby out of your room
One of the biggest questions facing you when you are a new parent is where your newborn should sleep and for how long. For most parents, the need to breastfeed on a regular basis throughout the night means you will usually opt to place a crib or bassinet in your bedroom to make life easier. The question of how long a baby sleeps in your room usually rears its head soon after baby arrives home and you need to return to normal life as soon as possible.
There are a number of school of thoughts regarding how long a baby sleeps in your room. The most trusted recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics states your newborn should remain in your room for the first 12 months of life or as close to this time as possible.
Other groups have largely agreed with the guidelines from the AAP and state a baby should be moved if they learn how to flip from back to stomach some time around the sixth month. For many new parents, the desire to keep their newborn in their room for as long as possible comes from the fear of SIDS.
Among the reasons you should take into account include how long a baby sleeps in your room include:
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
- Building a bond
- The alertness of your baby
Reasons to keep your baby in your room
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
The main reason why parents ask how long a baby sleeps in your room is to avoid the issue of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The statistics regarding SIDS make for unhappy reading when you look at the number of babies who die each year as a result of Sudden Infants Death Syndrome. This problem affects over 3,500 U.S. babies each year but can be positively affected by the decision to keep your baby in your bedroom for the first few months of their life. The AAP recommends a baby should stay in its parent’s bedroom for the first 12 months because this can lower the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
Over the course of the first 12 months of life, an infant is at the greatest risk of SIDS as they are unable to raise the alarm if they are struggling to breathe. Following this advice to extend room-sharing can often be difficult but with the re4search regarding SIDS becoming so overwhelming, the question of how long a baby sleeps in your room is no longer being asked.
Breastfeeding is made easy
One of the most important answers to the question of how long a baby sleeps in your room is that of breastfeeding. New mothers often keep their infant in a bassinet or crib in their room as you will wish to have your baby close at hand throughout the day and night to make sure you can return your baby to bed as soon as possible after feeding. The need to keep an eye on your newborn and complete feedings as soon as possible before the baby begins to cry and disturb others in the household. This is usually most important for a family with other children who are school age.
Building a stronger bond
The bond between parents and baby is often more difficult to form when how long a baby sleeps in your room is a short period of time. When a baby is allowed to sleep in the bedroom of his or her parents they have the chance to form a close bond with you as they will become comfortable in your presence very quickly. The bond between parent and child is one which should be formed quickly to provide a sense of comfort for the child who will quickly feel safe when sleeping in your room.
How alert is your baby?
Although the recommendations state how long a baby sleeps in your room focus on the chance of SIDS causing problems for your infant, others have different ideas. Some experts in babies explain one of the main concerns should be for the extent of alertness achieved by your baby. Many infants become alert to their surroundings sometime around the sixth month with others arriving at this stage earlier and later. If your baby is alert and aware of their surroundings, the issue of how long a baby sleeps in your room could be made more difficult. Many experts believe the best option is to move your baby into their own room sometime around the sixth month when they are less likely to struggle to break the bond of sleeping so close to their parents.
Transitioning to baby’s own room
When you ask how long a baby sleeps in your room and answer the time has come to transition into their own space you should make sure every aspect of the nursery is ready for baby. Firstly, if your baby is not managing to sleep through the night and still wakes every three to four hours it is probably not the right time to transition into their own room. However, by the time a baby reaches one year in age they should probably be sleeping through the night and should be checked by a pediatrician to make sure there are no problems.
How do you prepare your baby’s room for transitioning to sleeping away from parents? The first step is to follow the latest advice about the style of bed and accessories to use. The AAP recommends you let your baby sleep in a crib with a firm mattress. The question many new parents ask is, “what constitutes a firm mattress?” The answer is a mattress which does not depress when it is pressed by the baby or parent.
There are many different guidelines for making sure your baby stays safe during those first few nights alone in their bedroom. Firstly, a crib bumper should never be used and no blankets or soft toys should be placed in the crib with your baby who should sleep on a firm mattress equipped with a fitted sheet.
It is common for any parent to feel a little uncomfortable with the transition to baby sleeping in their own room after so long sharing your room. You should remember the move to a nursery is often more difficult for the parent than it is for the infant and everybody should feel comfortable with the move for it to be successful. If you or your baby are struggling to feel comfortable with the move of rooms you should return to sharing and wait for a month before trying again. Many parents sleep in the nursery with their baby for the first couple of nights to make sure they feel comfortable with the transition as it occurs.