Babies who sleep in their parents’ bedroom at four months old have shorter sleep stretches than their counterparts who sleep in their own bedrooms, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine gave questionnaires to over 250 first-time mothers about their infants’ sleep habits when their children were ages three-four weeks, four months, six months, and nine months. The study randomized the mothers into two groups – those who were encouraged to consider moving their child to sleep in a separate room, and those who were given information about safe sleep habits in regards to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), including the recommendation for babies to sleep in the parents’ room.
The researchers found that despite the differing advice given the two sets of mothers, sleep locations did not differ significantly between either group. What they did find, however, was a difference in how long the infants’ nighttime sleep stretches were.
At four months, 62 percent of the infants were sleeping in their own room, and the remainder with their parents. Both sets of babies slept for the same total average amount of time each night. The group who slept independently, however, consolidated their sleep better at four months of age. On average, the independent sleepers slept for a stretch of seven hours and 49 minutes. The room-sharers longest nighttime stretch was an average of seven hours and three minutes – 46 minutes shorter.
The American Association of Pediatrics has long encouraged parents to keep their infant in…