Pediatricians Release Updated Advice For Preventing SIDS American Academy of Pediatrics recommends newborns sleep in their parents' rooms until they're at least 6 months old to avoid SIDS. David Greene talks to Natasha Burgert, doctor, mother and blogger.
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For Parents, New Newborn Sleep Advice Turns Babies Into Roommates

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For Parents, New Newborn Sleep Advice Turns Babies Into Roommates

For Parents, New Newborn Sleep Advice Turns Babies Into Roommates

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Parents got some new advice this week. It is advice on how to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that newborns should sleep in their parents' rooms for at least the first six months or ideally even a year.

And that got us thinking about moms and dads who have to go back to work long before then, what about their sleep? Let's talk about this with Dr. Natasha Burgert, who is a pediatrician, mom and blogger.

Dr. Burgert, good morning.

NATASHA BURGERT: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So what do you think about this recommendation?

BURGERT: I think this is a new construct for families to think about. And it is new information and certainly different for what many families are currently doing.

GREENE: Are you going to tell your patients that they should really stick to this strictly? I mean, six months to a year, keeping their newborns in that bedroom with them?

BURGERT: Yeah. It's a long time, right? Like, most families are getting their kiddos out of their room a lot sooner, especially if they're the loud, grunty (ph), snorer...

GREENE: (Laughter).

BURGERT: ...Type babies that certainly were mine.

GREENE: Using a monitor or something, just in case there's a lot of noise?

BURGERT: Absolutely. And I think what this is a testament to is, you know, SIDS is really a scary thing for a lot of new families. And I think this gives some new advice based on a lot of new research that we have.

I know that most families prepare a beautiful nursery and they want to come home and have that baby in the nursery. But this is changing the dynamic to think about bringing home a roommate, and keeping them in your room for a really long time.

GREENE: A loud roommate who doesn't like to sleep that long.

BURGERT: A loud roommate, you're exactly right. (Laughter) So sleep is super important for the entire family, of course. And so I really think what this does is open up a discussion for each individual family to talk to their pediatrician about what their room situation is going to be in their home.

GREENE: So, Dr. Burgert, when you had a - when your baby was young, how long did you keep - well, boy or girl?

BURGERT: My oldest is a girl and my youngest is a boy.

GREENE: OK. Well, how long did they stay in the bedroom with you after they were born?

BURGERT: They stayed in the bedroom with me about eight weeks.

GREENE: Would you rethink that now and maybe keep them longer, now that you've read these guidelines?

BURGERT: I think the data is convincing to reconsider what I did. The new data suggests that the decrease in SIDS can be up to 50 percent. That's not a number that we should ignore. And moving babies to their own rooms really early might be a thing of the past.

BURGERT: Dr. Burgert, is there a larger issue here? I mean, I can imagine parents who are getting all this advice on - you have to sacrifice more and more. In this case, you know, being told they should lose sleep to have their baby in the room with them to keep them from something horrible happening.

But, I mean, they're so exhausted already. You know, child care is expensive. Nannies are expensive. And now something, to be told that you have to lose even more sleep in the first six to 12 months. Is there a larger issue that needs to be dealt with in this country?

BURGERT: I think parents go back to work really soon, most of them out of necessity. I think talking about parental leave is certainly a continuing dialogue that we need to have in the country, specifically for this type of issue.

But until those reforms happen, I think what we have to do is lean on the evidence that we have today about how we can keep our babies safe and make adjustments as we feel appropriate in order to keep our babies safe.

GREENE: All right. We're talking to Dr. Natasha Burgert, who's a pediatrician, mom and blogger in Kansas City. Dr. Burgert, thanks for your time.

BURGERT: Thanks, David.

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