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Confessions of a Sleep Consultant: Safe Sleep Recommendations

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

When I first became a mom, the current recommendation was to share a room, not a bed, with your child for a minimum of 6 months, and up to a year because it can lower the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).


My baby didn’t make it more than 3 weeks in my room.

He was next to me in his bassinet, and he was the LOUDEST little thing! I didn’t know babies could make so much noise. He was a grunter.

And the worst part was, I would wake up to every little noise he would make. My husband would sleep right through it.

We moved him over by the closet, farther away from me. He was still loud.

After three weeks of not sleeping, leaking breasts, and wanting to show off my sweet little babe, I got lunch with a mom-friend, one who I would consider an expert. She already had four kids, the youngest of whom was in my Kindergarten class. We were chatting and she was holding my baby, asking how things were going. I broke down and told her how much I was struggling at night with having him in the room with me.

“If he’s that loud, you can probably put him in his nursery down the hall, leave the doors open, and still hear him when he needs you.”

Those words. That permission. That’s all it took.

Little did she or I know it, but that was the beginning of my journey to becoming a certified sleep consultant.

I felt this relief wash over me, and all it took was these words from an older, more experienced friend (who wasn’t my mom or MIL) who had made it work and was a great mom herself. Her permission to move him out of my room was the catalyst that began my obsession with learning more about pediatric sleep and starting to feel more human again in those first few weeks postpartum.

I literally moved him out of my room that night. We both slept better. He could make all the little pig noises he needed while he slept, and I could finally get some sleep too, albeit 3-4 hours at a chunk was better than him waking me every 45 minutes throughout the night. I immediately began to feel somewhat human again.

I dove into the American Academy of Pediatrics’s recommendations and looked into the research behind them.

Guess what I couldn’t find?? The research that outlined the timeline with which the risk of SIDS was lowered. Since the incidence of SIDS reduces drastically after 4 months of age, why were they recommending that parents keep their babies in their bedrooms for up to a year?! That seemed a little extreme to me.

They’ve since changed that recommendation of keeping your baby in the same room as you until only 6 months old.

Want to know the research I could find?? Maternal mental health is greatly affected by sleep deprivation. And a mom who is unwell mentally is at more of a risk of having an insecure attachment with their child.

So, I’m not saying you shouldn’t follow the safe sleep recommendations from the AAP!

With my second, I wanted to make it closer to 6 months of room sharing if we could. It was a goal, but not one I was going to be heartbroken about if we couldn’t make it work. Obviously, I wanted to do everything I could to reduce the risk of SIDS for my babies.

This time around, my baby was a lot more quiet of a sleeper. He wasn’t a grunter, but, boy did he love his pacifier! Conveniently, I was right next to him in his bassinet for the first 5 months of his life, ready to pop that paci back in as soon as I heard him begin to awaken.

So, if you find yourself struggling with room sharing…first, turn the white noise up and see if that makes a difference for you. And, second, here is your permission to make a change.

There are other things you can do that lower the risk of SIDS.

I’d encourage you to familiarize yourself with all of the recommendations and then make the best decision for your family.

Safe Sleep Recommendations

First things first, it's important to remember that safe sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are just that—recommendations. They're not the be-all and end-all of rules for parents to follow, but they're here to serve as guidelines to help you make informed decisions for your little one's sleep.

Here are some of the big ones to make note of:

  1. Back to Sleep: The AAP recommends placing infants on their backs to sleep every time, whether it's for a nap or at night. This little move helps reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and keeps our tiny humans safe and sound.

  2. A Firm Mattress: When it comes to your baby's crib, opt for a firm mattress that fits snugly inside the crib. This creates a safe sleeping surface, reducing the risk of suffocation or entrapment.

  3. No Loose Bedding: Say goodbye to fluffy blankets, crib bumpers, and any other loose bedding. Keeping the crib clutter-free eliminates potential hazards and keeps your little one cozy without compromising safety.

  4. Share a Room, Not a Bed: While snuggling with your baby may sound tempting, the AAP suggests keeping your baby's sleep space separate from your own. Room-sharing (not bed-sharing) for at least the first six months can actually lower the risk of SIDS.

  5. Keep It Cool: Maintaining a comfortable room temperature is key for your baby's sleep. Aim for a cozy atmosphere between 68-72°F (20-22°C), and dress your little one in appropriate sleepwear to prevent overheating.

Now, I want to emphasize that these recommendations are not meant to make you feel like a sleep rule enforcer. We're all in this together, figuring out what works best for our families. These guidelines are simply here to help us navigate the sleep journey with awareness and mindfulness.

Here's my other confession: We (the team of sleep consultants at Lake Country Sleep) know the recommendations like the back of our hand because... well, it's in our job description! We're your sleep besties who have all the insider knowledge and are here to help you thrive as a family.

At Lake Country Sleep, we understand the challenges you face when it comes to sleep, and we're dedicated to supporting you through it all. That's why we've created our signature sleep program, The CHEER Method. With this program, we'll not only educate you on what the current safe sleep recommendations are, but we'll also guide you every step of the way, providing the tools and support you need for a restful night's sleep.

So, let's hold hands (metaphorically, of course) and embark on this sleep journey together. Click here to learn more about how we can help you navigate sleep with confidence using our CHEER Method.

Remember, parenthood is a wild ride, and we're here to cheer you on, one wink of sleep at a time!

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