My Kid Should Sleep in My Room Until He's One? Really?
In 2016, the AAP Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome recommended, among many other things, that parents sleep in the same room as their infant until one year of age if possible. This was not a popular recommendation, as 90% of SIDS cases occur prior to age six months and many pediatricians felt that that such a recommendation would lead to poorer sleep for both infants and parents.
A 2017 study challenged this recommendation by looking at data gathered in a large obesity prevention trial in which moms filled out questionnaires about their kids’ sleep at four, nine, twelve, and thirty months (1). The researchers then looked at sleeping practices in children who were sleeping in their own room at four months and those who shared a room with their parents at nine months. The differences were significant. At four months, early independent sleepers already averaged 46 more minutes during their longest stretch of sleep than room-sharers. Looking ahead to 30 months, early independent sleepers slept over 45 minutes more each night than the room-sharers. This is especially significant now that we know that increased sleep can lead to improved cognition, behavior, and healthier weights. Finally, room-sharers were four times more likely to bed-share during infancy than the early independent sleepers, a behavior that has been shown to significantly increase the risk of SIDS.
The AAP is awesome, but any recommendation still needs to be evaluated and discussed, and pediatricians “on the ground” sometimes have a different perspective. You still need to decide what is best for your child, but anything we can do to promote better sleep is huge. And I certainly think you can feel safe with your infant in another room by four months provided you put him on his back in a crib without bumpers or other poofy stuff.
1. Mother-infant room sharing and sleep outcomes in the INSIGHT study. Paul, IM et a. Pediatrics. 2017;140(1):e20170122. doi:10.1542/peds.2017-0122.