The American Academy of Pediatrics recently reduced their room sharing recommendations from the first 12 months of life to the first 6 months of life.
This is good news for many parents, as sharing a room with an infant past the early months of life can lead to many night wakings. Now you can sleep well and not feel guilty. Win:win.
But Emily Oster goes a step further in her recent article, New AAP Guidelines on Breastfeeding and Safe Sleep, and says that actually, the evidence the AAP cites says that the risk of SIDS actually drops significantly at four months, not six. Meanwhile, she says, the protective benefit of room sharing is weak.
So she suggests that actually, parents could stop room sharing safely at four months, and lots of evidence she has found says that babies who sleep better at 4 months continue to be better sleepers at 9 months and even at 30 months.
And anecdotally, in my work, I see a huge decrease in the number of night wakings for both parent and child when children are moved to their own bedrooms (or to their siblings’ bedrooms, assuming their siblings are relatively good sleepers).
Of course, Emily Oster is not the AAP and if you want to be extra conservative, go with their recommendations. But I find her arguments quite persuasive.
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Abby Wolfson is a pediatric nurse practitioner, certified child sleep consultant and certified life coach for parents. She divides her time between Brooklyn, NY and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.