Dear American Academy of Pediatrics,
Would you like to know the first word that popped in my head when I read the new sleep guidelines? I bet you can guess… it’s a four letter word.
“Infants should sleep in the same room as parents to lower the risk of sleep-related deaths, the American Academy of Pediatrics said in a policy statement released Monday.”
I mean… really, American Academy of Pediatrics? REALLY?
The problem is that I’m a rule follower, and I’ll probably do exactly as you tell me. You see, I’m in the THICK of this sleep stuff. I’m on message boards and Facebook groups and I research the crap out of every wake-sleep-nap time question that’s ever existed. I have a one-year-old and we are hoping to expand our family in the near future. So when you tell me that it will be a YEAR before I can sleep alone in the same room as my husband after the next child arrives… I just want to ask you to pray for me.
I’m not sure there is anything more scary than sleep-related deaths in infants for a mom (or dad). Because of that, I have listened to all of your recommendations so far. Back to sleep? Absolutely. A rock hard mattress and no loose clothing or items in the crib? Yep! Crib bumpers? No way! But, I’m just not sure I can get on board with 365 days of sharing a room with my baby.
From my very short experience of motherhood (14 months), I need to tell you that the best rest my son and I have gotten is when we are NOT in the same room. (I know that this may make some mommas cringe, and for that I do apologize, but just go ahead and stop reading now…) When my son turned 6 months and we shipped him to his crib in his own room, we both slept better. I wasn’t frantically waking at every moment to place my hand on his chest and check the sterile bassinet next to me, and he wasn’t smelling my scent every 90 seconds, waking to try to convince me to let him sleep with my nipple in his mouth (#nevertookapaci).
While I understand that your job is to provide the public with rules about the safest sleep possible (and I THANK YOU for that), I’m here to inform you that when I’m a rested mom, I’m a better mom. The truth is that I when I make the decision to place my 6-month-old in his room alone, I pray I won’t have the added guilt that will undoubtedly ensue. Perhaps next time you make recommendations, you could provide more realistic guidelines or alternatives that fit into more American homes.
A rule-following-well-intended-sleep-obsessed mom