The American Academy of Pediatrics recently revised its infant sleep recommendations.
The AAP reiterated its stance against co-sleeping, but also stated that a good way to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is to have babies sleep in the parents' room at night. Here are the highlights of the AAP's recommendations for babies up to one year old.
1. Babies should be put to sleep on their backs.
2. Babies should sleep on a firm surface, such as a crib, bassinet, portable crib or play yard with a fitted sheet and nothing (toys, stuffed animals, pillows, blankets, etc.) in the sleep area with the baby.
3. Parents should room share with their babies for at least the first six months of life, and ideally for the first year. Room sharing is associated with a 50% decrease in SIDS rates.
4. Although room sharing is important, bed-sharing is important to avoid. Babies should only be in the bed with the parents when the parents are awake -- for feeding or comforting -- and put into their own safe sleep area when the time for sleeping comes.
5. Babies should never be put to sleep on couches, sofas or armchairs.
6. If a baby will take one (and after he has an established breastfeeding relationship if the mother is nursing), a pacifier may help reduce the risk of SIDS.
For more information about infant sleep recommendations, visit the AAP's website.