New Baby Sleep Guidelines Can Drastically Reduce SIDS

Beautiful young mother with her newborn baby son, bedroom

Caring for our babies and keeping them safe isn't always easy, especially since in those critical early years, we're often sleep-deprived ourselves! This is one of the reasons why experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their sleep recommendations for infants. Not only are they recommending that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for at least the first six months -- ideally a year -- of their lives, but they also have new guidelines for where you should feed your baby if you feel like YOU might fall asleep before you put your baby back in her own crib or bassinet.

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Published in the November journal Pediatrics, this new report outlines how moms and dads can create a safer sleep environment, all in an effort to help reduce the risk of SIDS. 

And according to its new findings, the AAP believes parents can decrease their baby's risk of SIDS by 50 percent if they sleep in the same room as LO for the first six months, which is a pretty remarkable drop!

More from CafeMom: SIDS Risk Involves More Than Your Baby's Sleeping Environment

Although experts still don't advise parents to sleep in the same bed (co-sleep) with their babies, they do give a thumbs-up to babies sleeping on a firm surface made specifically for infants that's close to their parents' bed during the first year. As previously recommended, an infant's sleeping surface -- including bassinets, cribs, portable cribs, and play yards -- should be void of blankets, pillows, crib bumpers, soft bedding, and toys. Monitors marketed to reduce SIDS are also not recommended inside the crib.

And, parents should continue to place babies on their backs to sleep.

In addition, the AAP has some really important advice for when you're breastfeeding or bottle-feeding and you feel like you might be too tired to put your baby back into his or her crib before conking out yourself: Feed your baby on your own bed, and not a cushioned chair or sofa. Evidence shows that sofas and arm chairs allow for a baby to get wedged between the cushions more easily which, sadly, results in a higher rate of death.

Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter, coauthor of the AAP report, notes:

If you are feeding your baby and think that there's even the slightest possibility that you may fall asleep, feed your baby on your bed, rather than a sofa or cushioned chair.

As soon as you wake up, be sure to move the baby to his or her own bed. There should be no pillows, sheets, blankets or other items that could obstruct the infant's breathing or cause overheating.

Still, it's important to note that experts recommend that a parent's bed be the last-resort place to fall asleep with your baby (a firm surface for an infant is always best). And you must be sure to remove pillows, sheets, and blankets that can cover an infant's head during sleep and obstruct breathing.

More from CafeMom: 11 Mistakes Mom Make When They're Putting Baby to Bed

With so much judgment swirling around parents who accidentally fall asleep with their child during feedings, information like this is not only informative, but also lets new moms and dads know they aren't alone.

Falling asleep with baby happens. And rather than parents beating themselves up if and when it does, we now have more information to help keep our children safe.

My husband and I kept each of our kids (they're now 2 and 1) in our room until they were 8 months. I never thought to do so because of an expert study, but am glad I did because it cut down on the walking back and forth to get LO for those late-night feedings -- which, in turn, made it easier for us to put baby back into his sleeping unit when it was time.

It makes so much sense.

More from CafeMom: 5 Ways to Sleep Close to Baby If You're Nervous About Co-Sleeping

Hopefully this news from the AAP will help prevent the unimaginable from happening to any parent. With so much to worry about as is, having your baby sleep in the same room might just be the key for everyone to get a good night's rest.

 

Image via Halfpoint/Shutterstock

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