For Parents, New Newborn Sleep Advice Turns Babies Into Roommates

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New advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that newborns sleep in their parents' rooms for at least the first 6 months to avoid SIDS.

American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that newborns sleep in their parents' rooms until they're at least 6 months old – or ideally a year — to avoid SIDS. A year may seem like a long time, and, according to Natasha Burgert, doctor, mother and blogger, it's different from what many families are currently doing.

"Most families are getting their kiddos out of their room sooner, especially if they're the loud, grunty snorer-type babies that certainly mine were," she tells NPR's David Greene. "I know that most families prepare a beautiful nursery, and they want to come home and have that baby in the nursery but this is changing the dynamic to think about bringing home a roommate."

SIDS claims the lives of 3,500 infants each year in the U.S. To reduce that risk, the pediatricians' suggest room-sharing (not bed-sharing), a firm sleep surface, supine positioning and the avoidance of soft bedding. Sharing a room with parents can, the report says, reduce the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.

Parents may wind up losing more sleep with these new loud, grunty roommates at their bedside, but, Burgert says, 50 percent "is not a number we can ignore, and moving babies to their own rooms really early might be a thing of the past."

To hear more of Burgert's Morning Edition interview, click the play button.

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