What the AAP Recommends for Sleep vs. What Real Parents Do

In 1992, a lot changed for the health and life expectancy of newborn babies. That was the year that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in an attempt to lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), began recommending that parents put their babies to bed on their backs, instead of their stomachs. This recommendation ended up drastically reducing the number of infant deaths that the country saw in a given year. Over the years since, the AAP has added to and amended its list of newborn sleep guidelines to help parents feel more secure about the well-being of their babies during their first year of life.

According to one of the AAP’s publications, here are a few of the sleep recommendations that are supposed to help prevent SIDS:

  • Put the baby on his or her back to sleep
  • Use only a firm sleep surface
  • Breastfeeding is recommended
  • Keep soft objects and loose bedding away from the infant’s sleep area to reduce the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment, and strangulation.
  • Offer pacifier at bed and nap time
  • Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth
  • Avoid alcohol and drug use during pregnancy and after birth
  • Avoid overheating and head covering in infants

Just recently, the AAP made yet another suggestion regarding sleep for newborns: “It is recommended that infants sleep in the parents’ room, close to the parents’ bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants, ideally for the first year of life, but at least for the first 6 months.”

It was this last part that I found the most interesting.

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