TAKING CARA BABIES
Room Sharing for the Entire First Year;
A New Infant Sleep Recommendation
Cara Dumaplin, Founder
October 25, 2016
Here it is loud and clear blasting from my television this morning: “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies should sleep in mom’s room for the entire first year!” Thank you, Good Morning America.
First, you must know my background. I started my nursing career as a Neonatal ICU nurse. EVERY. SINGLE. BABY. I took care of was on a monitor. I knew their heart rate, respirations, and oxygen saturation at any given moment. You can only imagine my reaction when I had my own babies and the hospital sent me home with these adorable little bundles minus any output of their vital statistics. Absolute fear!“But, how will I know the slightest change in her heart rate?” I asked my postpartum nurse.
She answered, “You won’t” and wheeled me out to our car.
I must admit I was a BIT overly vigilant. I mean maybe it wasn’t completely necessary to count my newborn’s respirations 13 times an hour ALL. NIGHT. LONG. Maybe?
Over the past 18 years, I have dedicated my nursing career to new families and babies. Since the “birth” of Taking Cara Babies, I have become a sleep consultant and coach to exhausted, sleep-deprived families. Utilizing evidenced-based research, I help the entire family get the sleep they all need to maximize bonding and development during those first few years of life.
Soooo…. this morning, when I saw the new guideline of room-sharing for the entire first year, my heart about dropped. I must admit, in my experience, many babies after the ages of 4-6 months do sleep better in a separate room. No, not all, but many. (You can see my own personal story here.)
Can I invite you to read the REST OF THE INFORMATION as published in USA Today:
Alice Callahan, author of The Science of Mom: A Research-Based Guide to Your Baby’s First Year, said the academy’s task of issuing child-rearing advice to Americans with a diversity of cultural beliefs and experiences isn’t easy.
While evidence backs the organization’s advice to room share, Callahan said, studies haven’t yet shown how long room-sharing remains important. She described the yearlong recommendation as “cautious,” acknowledging that many parents will struggle with it.
“Many find—and this is shown in the research, too—that they sleep better with their babies in a separate room,” said Callahan, who studied fetal physiology and holds a PhD. in nutrition.
Parents, did you catch that? The year-long recommendation is admittedly “cautious”. Please remember not every home environment is like yours. These recommendations have to accommodate all lifestyles and living situations thus making generalizations for all families.
If you are struggling with sleep deprivation, please keep in mind that there is a safety risk in sleep deficiency as well. Did you know our brains mimic that of a drunk person when we are sleep deprived? It’s true!
The USA Today article further states:
It’s important to consider safety, but there is also a safety risk associated with severe sleep deprivation if it makes you more likely to have a car accident, for example.
“The new guidelines recognize that parents often feed their newborns in a sleep-deprived state. Lori Feldman-Winter, the statement’s co-author and a professor of pediatrics at Cooper Medical School, urged parents to prepare for this.
Yesterday, I spoke to a new mom who was struggling with her baby and said to me through tear-filled eyes, “anything that comforts my daughter or helps us, as a family, get any sleep is now considered unsafe and wrong”. My heart bleeds for her. No, it isn’t completely true, but can’t you see how new moms feel this way?
Fortunately, help is available. If you have a newborn less than 12 weeks old, please attend my class or watch it online. If your baby is older than 5 months of age and isn’t sleeping 10-12 hours per night, there’s also a class for you. It’s called The ABC’s of Sleep. This class is for babies 5-24 months of age. Learn more here.
Please don’t misinterpret my thoughts. I absolutely encourage room sharing in the first few months of life and even longer if that is best for the family.
BUT, what are new parents to do with this recommendation of room sharing for the entire first year if that isn’t working? Do this: Consider it! Take in all the information. Weigh the risks and benefits and trust your inner voice. Yes, you know that voice. The one that says, “I know what is best for my baby and our family.” Maybe room sharing for the entire first year IS best for your baby, but if you and your baby are both sleeping better in separate rooms (while utilizing the other safe sleep guidelines), this is okay. Utilize safe sleep recommendations, but don’t let fear drive your every move.
Sleep well. Be well.
Cara Dumaplin is not a blogger. She is, however, a mom to four kids who keep her laughing daily. Although she swore she would never date a doctor, it is with joy that she admits marrying her husband, a pediatrician, was the beginning of a crazy-amazing life together. (Albeit, she has had to learn to forgive him for constantly feeding their kids Pop-Tarts for breakfast.) A registered nurse with 18 years experience, Cara’s eyes light up when she discusses her passion of educating, encouraging, and empowering new parents. Follow Taking Cara Babies on Facebook or Instagram for helpful baby sleep tips, successful infant sleep stories, and a glimpse into this chaotic, yet blessed life. For more blogs by Cara, you can click HERE.
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