Besides, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has long recommended room-sharing for infants up to 12 months old, since this proximity appears to be linked to lower rates of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
In addition, there's a higher risk that babies sleeping in the same bed as their parents will suffer from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), Paul added in a report by WTSP. Sleep experts, he told CBS News, suggest that a child should be transitioned into his or her own room after the first few months of life. "It also conflicts with other data that room-sharing is associated with more sleep disruption for mothers", wrote Paul in an email.
Still, the team points out that these recommendations did not lead to a significant difference between the two groups.
But while there's evidence to recommend room-sharing with infants for 3 to 6 months, data simply don't support continuing the practice beyond that age, Paul said.
"We know from prior research that babies experience brief awakenings overnight regardless of where they sleep", said lead study author Dr. Ian Paul, chief of academic general pediatrics at Pennsylvania State College of Medicine in Hershey.
At 9 months, the study said the gap widened, with those who had been sleeping independently since 4 months old sleeping an hour and 40 minutes longer than babies who were still sleeping in their parent's room - 542 minutes versus 442 minutes, respectively.
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A team of researchers in the USA have found that babies who shared a room at four months were more likely to have a blanket, pillow or other unapproved object that could increase the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Babies who shared a room at 4 months were less likely to be put to bed before 8 p.m.
Besides room-sharing, the AAP says you can reduce the risk of SIDS by breastfeeding, putting babies to sleep with no bedding or toys, avoiding secondhand smoke exposure, and using a pacifier at bedtime and during naps.
Other studies have said that babies who sleep poorly can have an impact on parents' stress and mental health. Dr. Rachel Moon and Dr. Fern Hauck from the department of pediatrics and family medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine supported the AAP's guidance in an editorial accompanying the study. "My advice is to room-share for at least 6 months", she said. As long as you're taking the appropriate safety precautions, it seems the official ruling on how long you share a room with your baby is up to you. Poor infant sleep has also been linked to behavioral issues or childhood obesity.
The study wasn't a controlled experiment created to prove how babies' sleep location influences safety or the duration or quality of sleep. Participants were predominantly white, and half had family incomes of $75,000 or more. As much as it can feel like an eternity of being woken at night, the fact is that over time, most babies learn to sleep through the night and give their parents a break.
"During that time, be mindful that bed-sharing is a greater possibility, so mothers should be aware of this and take steps to avoid it", she said.
This study's results are available in the journal Pediatrics.