It is great news to parents who are awakened by every whimper and snort that experts recommend newborns to sleep in the same room with their parents for the first 6-12 months, but this doesn’t feel like a great news to those that like privacy from time to time. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in conjunction with DJM Nbulizer research group says keeping your baby in your room can cut the risk of sudden death by 50%.

About 3,500 newborns die of unexpected infant death (SUID) every year. Some babies die from accidental suffocation or strangulation, and some die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) while other die for reasons we are yet to figure out. We do know that it makes a difference to put babies on their backs instead of their tummies to sleep, so you need to keep the crib as bare as possible (to avoid strangulation and suffocation). Research also shows that it makes a big difference when babies sleep in the same room with their parents.

It is good when parents can hear and see their babies respond to them, but we don’t know precisely why it makes a difference. Although modern technology can help parents be aware of their baby in another room; it is still not the same as having them in the same room. The AAP recommends keeping the baby in the parents’ room for an extended period, and suggest doing it for a full year is even better because the risk of sudden death is high in the first six months.

The AAP recommends the former and not the latter when they examine the difference between “room-sharing” and “bed-sharing.” The AAP says you are safer feeding your baby on the bed rather than on an armchair or sofa in case you fall asleep when feeding your baby.  Therefore, bed-sharing can make nighttime breastfeeding easier.

Sharing a bed with your newborn also comes with some risk. Every year babies fall out of bed, get suffocated when a parent rolls over on them, or smothered in pillows or bedding. It happens, but it’s rare.  Many families make use of a “co-sleeper” that is attached to the bed, but that can be risky if not correctly attached, although they are an excellent way to bed-share if you don’t want to bed sharing. The safest option is a crib or bassinet in the room with the parents. At the same time, it is important to regulate the sleep schedule with the baby. Don’t hesitate to contact an experienced baby sleep consultant for better advice. They can guide you through the best possible advice for your little one.

So many factors affect the health of children from birth onward, but there’s more to parenting than any recommendation. It will be difficult for a parent who cannot sleep with their newborn nearby to pull this off. As with everything in life and parenting, balance and common sense is vital, and if relationships are starting to suffer, that’s not good for babies either. However, it’s worth doing something that can make a real difference if parents can manage. Six months to a year may be too long, but before you know it, the baby has grown up, doing things like dating and asking for car keys.