Pediatricians recommend babies sleep in parents’ room for at least first six months

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Babies should sleep in their parents' bedroom for at least the first six months, and ideally for the first year. That's the recommendation from the nation's pediatricians.

At one-month old, Emery Dahlquist sleeps in a bassinet in her parents' bedroom. Her mom hopes to transition her to her nursery in a few weeks.

"I feel like if you wait too long, then they're not gonna want to sleep in there," said Ashley Dahlquist.

But the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends waiting. The nursery could become obsolete.

"Essentially, yes. So that would be where you store the diapers and things," said Dr. James McEntire of Preferred Pediatrics.

The academy says room sharing decreases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by up to 50 percent.

"A closer, attentive parent may recognize an infant that may have some type of event occurring before it gets too far into that event," Dr. McEntire said.

"I can see it. Being close to your baby. I guess, maybe," Dahlquist said.

The pediatricians say baby should be on a separate surface such as a crib or bassinet to lower the chances of suffocation. It can be a bedside or in-bed sleeper, just not the same surface. They say never put the baby on a couch, arm-chair or soft surface alone or sleeping with another person.

As for breastfeeding, the academy says if there's even the slightest possibility that you may fall asleep, feed your baby on your bed rather than a sofa or cushioned chair. But Dr. McEntire says that recommendation makes him a little nervous. He thinks a mom should breastfeed wherever she's going to be most awake.

"And if that means getting out of bed, changing to a chair," he said.

"It kinda already wakes you up," Dahlquist said.

That why she says she'll likely continue breastfeeding Emery while sitting on a sofa.

About 3,500 babies die each year from sleep-related issues. The academy says while most SIDS deaths occur between one and four months old, soft bedding continues to pose hazards to babies four months and older.

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