Let baby sleep in your bedroom, pediatricians say

By Mina Radman • Published: January 3rd, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Sleep is a hot topic when it comes to parenting. Decorating a nursery for a little one is a rite of passages for nesting parents — as is the anticipation of many sleepless nights.

But new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest keeping a newborn in the parents’ bedroom is best for the first six months to a year of a baby’s life, and may lessen the chance of sudden infant death syndrome by as much as 50 percent. About 3,500 babies in the U.S. die from SIDS every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and experts believe that having baby within arm’s reach makes it easier for parents to react quickly to any signs of trouble.

Babies should sleep in their own crib or bassinet and can feed in bed with mom, but only if the bed has a tight-fitting flat sheet and is clear of loose sheets, pillows and bedding that could cause suffocation. As any new parent can attest, it’s easy to fall asleep with a dozing baby on your chest.

Place your baby on his or her back for safe sleeping. If mom or dad is a smoker, pediatricians recommend that the baby sleep in a separate room, as secondhand smoke can cause SIDS. And while swaddling babies to help them fall asleep is perfectly safe, don’t let them sleep unsupervised while swaddled.

Need more baby sleep secrets? After the first few weeks, you don’t need to wake them up for night feedings if they’re gaining weight on track — let them sleep uninterrupted. Keep a bedtime routine of bath, bottle then sleep and follow it every night. Put baby in his or her crib when they’re drowsy, not asleep, so they learn how to put themselves to sleep. Then you can sleep soundly, too.