The Short of It:
According to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should be sleeping in the same room, and separate beds, as their newborns for at least the first six months of their lives.
The Longer Version of It:
Ideally, infants should sleep in the same room as parents through their first year, the organization said. That is to say that up until one year, children should sleep with parents on separate surfaces within a shared room, such as a crib. Parents should never sleep on the same bed as their children, or set their infants to rest on a soft surface, armchair or couch.
The new report is meant to prevent and minimize the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, and other sleep related forms of infant death, like suffocation. The phenomenon of SIDS hasn't entirely been narrowed down to one specific cause of these sudden, unexpected deaths, but researchers have theories. These include the concept that a baby's brain might not be developed enough to regulate respiration when in an environment, like soft furnishing, that can contribute to suffocation or cause nasal obstruction. There's also a theory that certain infants may just be more vulnerable due to genetics or physical traits.
The latest AAP report, revealed evidence that sharing a room with an infant can reduce the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. Having a mother close to a baby also promotes breastfeeding which has been found to reduce the risk of SIDS by 70%. The report also recommends that new mothers breastfeed in bed as opposed to an armchair. This is because the armchair tends to be one of the most hazardous forms of rest for infants, especially if a mother falls asleep which is likely to happen to new parents who are tired from their new routine.
AAP's newest reports can be helpful for new mothers to understand how to care for their infants, share the information with your friends who might not be aware of the latest updates.