Sharing a room with a newborn baby is something that a lot of parents feel compelled to do and while this is recommended for the first year to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome, new research suggests that co-sleeping after the first four months could have a negative effect.
Carried out by Penn State College of Medicine, the study found that sleeping in the same room as your baby after the first four months is linked to less sleep for the infant and also has associations with unsafe sleeping practices.
It was found that at four months old, children who slept independently had a longer stretch of continuous sleep than those who shared with a parent (averaging out at 45 minutes more). At nine months old, this gap was even wider, with those children who did learn to sleep on their own by four months experiencing sleep stretches averaging out at one hour and 40 minutes longer than babies sleeping in their parents’ room.
Sleep safety was also seen to be affected by room sharing. It was seen that a child that shared a room at four months old was more likely to have a pillow or blanket, which could increase the chances of sudden infant death syndrome.
“Inadequate infant sleep can lead to obesity, poor sleep later in life and can negatively affect parents. Many paediatricians and sleep experts question the room-sharing recommendation until one year because infants begin to experience separation anxiety in the second half of the first year, making it problematic to change sleep locations at that stage. Waiting too long can have negative effects on sleep quality for both parents and infants in both the short and long term,” Dr Ian Paul, professor of paediatrics at the college, said.
If you’re worried about sudden infant death syndrome and want to do all you can to reduce the risk, don’t share a bed with your baby if you’ve taken drugs, you’re a smoker or if you’ve been drinking alcohol. Never sleep with the baby on a sofa or armchair and don’t let your child get too hot or too cold. NHS advice is to keep the baby’s head uncovered, with the blanket tucked in no higher than their shoulders.
Ensuring that your baby sleeps on their back from the beginning for day and night sleeps will help to reduce the risks, as it’s not as safe for them to sleep on their tummies or on their backs. But remember that as soon as your baby is old enough to roll over, you don’t need to worry if they turn over onto their side or their tummy while asleep.
If your child sleeps well, then you’ll be a much happier parent so it’s important to try and get into a proper routine as soon as you can. Investing in the right kind of Snoozebaby clothes could also prove beneficial to getting a good night’s sleep so check out the Baby-Luxe website to see what we have in stock right now.