Rivka Altman isn’t getting much sleep these days.
“We're both as rested as expected,” said the second-time mom, who just welcomed a new baby and roommate six weeks ago.
“Grace has been in our room since we've come home, and we alternate between the rock-and-play and the bassinet, and get almost three-hour stretches a night,” Altman said.
A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that Altman and her husband are doing it right. The AAP’s latest recommendation is for parents to share a room with their infant until at least six months or up to one year to reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths.
“This puts the infant closer to them,” said Dr. LeAnn Kridelbaugh, President of Children’s Health Pediatric Group. “The highest risk for those unexplained infant deaths is in the first six months of life, so that's why they say, for sure, you want to have your baby with you for the first six months of life."
In the U.S., an estimated 3,500 babies die during sleep every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 44 percent of deaths are caused by sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), 25 percent by accidental strangulation, and the causes of the rest are unknown.
“We don't want them to sleep in the same bed with their parents,” Dr. Kridelbaugh said, highlighting the importance of placing babies on separate sleeping surfaces, like a crib, playpen, or bassinet, rather than soft surfaces like sofas or armchairs. She added not even the advanced technology like monitors or Owlets can watch your baby as closely as you.
“There really wasn't enough evidence to recommend any of those kinds of devices in lieu of having the baby in the room with you,” Kridelbaugh said.
Altman admitted having a baby in the room can make it a bit tougher to get to sleep, but said the trade-off in knowing her baby is safe makes sleep deprivation worth it.
However, she also said keeping Grace within reach makes breastfeeding easier, helps with bonding, and quiets mom’s fears: “If they're up here and you're deep sleeping, are you going to miss something?”