On Room Sharing and Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

We’ve already discussed how co-sleeping makes breastfeeding easier here on the Latched Mama blog. You might remember the story of how I struggled to nurse my first baby because I reluctantly put her to bed in a nursery on the other side of our home. The struggle to get myself a good night of sleep was a major challenge for me, my husband, and my baby too. After months of this challenge, my first born was moved into my room and everyone’s sleep improved dramatically.

Still, I found myself arguing with contrarian family members and confused friends who couldn’t understand why I would ever want my baby to sleep in my room. I tried to explain that we all slept better, that my baby seemed happier, and that I felt much more secure. But at the time, the only evidence I had to back up the claim that room-sharing felt safer was that women have been sleeping with their babies since the dawn of time and most women continue to do so.

To the joy of many health care professionals and families in the United States, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines on infant sleep suggestions in October which suggest that parents room in with their babies to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Room Sharing Recommendation

The new guidelines released from the American Academy of Pediatrics spent a lot of time discussing how to keep your baby safe from SIDS by co-sleeping. According to their publication, infants should spend the first six months to a year in their parent’s bedrooms, but on a separate sleeping surface.

Other things to consider when room sharing with your infant include:

  • Keep your baby on a firm mattress that prevents them from falling into a pocket.
  • Remove any blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals from the crib.
  • Keep your baby close to you so that you can easily hear them when they awake.

 How to Implement Room Sharing in Your Home

As we’ve discussed before, it’s never too early or too late to room share with your baby. Begin by evaluating the layout of your bedroom. Is there a space for a pack and play or an Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper? You can put your bassinet just about anywhere in your room, but if you’ve got the space for it, breastfeeding is the easiest when the baby sleeps as close to your bed as possible. A co-sleeper is convenient because it connects directly to your mattress so that you won’t need to sit up and pick your baby up from their bed, but rather reach over and slide them to you when it is time to nurse.

To promote better sleep for yourself, keep your baby entertained baby by creating or finding a mobile to place above their bed. Add twinkle lights to your ceiling or fun, colorful artwork to your walls. Babies love laying in bed and exploring their surroundings and a few fun things to look at might give you a few extra minutes of sleep each morning.

If you’re having trouble convincing your partner to allow your baby to room in, show them this article and provide them as much information on the AAP’s new guidelines as possible. Discuss their concerns about intimacy and address each one thoughtfully. Intimacy after children can be a challenge, but getting creative rarely hurts!

Most importantly, do what feels right for you and your baby. Keeping your infant safe is your main priority; do what you need to do in order to feel secure and stand up for yourself in the process.

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