A new study found that mother-infant room-sharing should be restricted to six months to keep the baby and his/her sleeping disorders at bay. The researchers discovered that room-sharing with infants aged four months and nine months can lead to shorter sleep periods, decreased night-time sleep, and unsafe sleep practices.
The recommendations of the study titled "Mother-Infant Room-Sharing and Sleep Outcomes in the INSIGHT Study" contradict the suggestions the American Academy of Pediatrics has laid out.
The AAP recommends mother-child room-sharing during the period of infancy to reduce the risk associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. In October 2016, AAP restructured its policies and recommended mother-infant room-sharing for at least 6 months and ideally 1 year of the infant's birth.
Infants Should Sleep In Their Own Room
The new study counters the latest AAP guidelines. To validate their assertion that babies should sleep in their own room after a certain period, researchers viewed and analyzed a questionnaire, which was answered by 230 first-time mothers who had babies aged 4, 9, 12, and 30 months old.
The mother-infant study participants were divided into three groups of sleepers. The "early independent sleepers" were the four-month old babies who slept in their own room and constituted 67 percent of the participants.
The "later independent sleepers" comprised 27 percent of the participants and were babies who learned to sleep alone between four and nine months. The last category of sleepers were infants who at nine months still slept with their mother. The last group of room-sharing infants comprised 11 percent of the participants.
Sleeping In Own Room Improves Baby's Sleep?
During the study, researchers observed that noteworthy differences existed in the bedtime routines of four-month-old infants. It was observed that there were lower odds of a four-month-old room-sharing infant being put to sleep by 8 p.m.
The researchers also found that infants in this category had higher odds of having an unapproved entity with them in bed such as pillows or blankets vis-à-vis non-room-sharing babies. It was also discovered that parents who shared the room with infants were four times more likely to bring their child to sleep with them over the night.
At nine months, it was observed that the babies who slept independently from their parents in their own room received 40 minutes of additional sleep during the night vis-à-vis room-sharing infants.
"Among room sharers at 4 months, the longest sleep period was about 7 hours compared with 7 hours and 49 minutes among the solitary sleepers. Seven hours is still well above the normal range for sleep at this age," the study's co-author Fern Hauck remarked.
On the basis of their findings, the researchers have requested reconsideration of the mother-infant room-sharing duration, citing unsafe sleep practices and poor sleep outcomes.
The study's results were published in journal Pediatrics on Monday, June 5.