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In some cultures, it seems a child should have his/her own room since birth, as long as it's economically feasible.

In others, this seems to be universally criticized by parents and educators alike and deemed psychological abuse of the child. Educators emphasize being intimate with the child, holding the child for as long as he/she needs to be held, never raising your voice to the child, never disciplining the child, etc. And calls for unconditional sacrifice of the parents' schedule/sleep/health for the child.

Why is that?

  • It is typical and recommended in the UK for babies to sleep in their parents room for the first 6 months - year to prevent SIDs. – R Reveley Feb 28 '17 at 9:06
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    "consensus in Western society: kid should have his/her own room since birth" - no, not at all. The standard recommendation for infants (<12 months) is to sleep in their own bed, in the parents' room. See e.g. the recommendation of German BZgA: "During the first year, the baby's bed should be in the parents' sleeping room." – sleske Feb 28 '17 at 11:14
  • Asking why recommendations differ between different countries is not really a parenting question, but rather a question about culture, specifically about the way parenting is seen in different cultures - so more suitable for a site about Cultural studies. If you want to ask what the current recommendation is (and why), now that would be on-topic. – sleske Feb 28 '17 at 11:16
  • if an infant is not given outside stimuli, he can die with in days. So in india children are never given separate rooms. They will always keep them stroking as much as possible. Read the book "I am Okay, you are okay" – Rishi Feb 28 '17 at 12:51
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    @Rishi That's a bit of a stretch. Having a separate room for sleeping at night doesn't mean you're completely ignoring your child 24 hours a day. – Catija Feb 28 '17 at 16:18
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Actually, to answer your first question, yes, it's bad.

The American Academy of Pediatricians recommend that infants stay in the same bedroom with their parents until at least six months of age and it is recommended until they hit a full year old unless you have a good-quality baby monitor.

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.

The infant’s crib, portable crib, play yard, or bassinet should be placed in the parents’ bedroom until the child’s first birthday. Although there is no specific evidence for moving an infant to his or her own room before 1 year of age, the first 6 months are particularly critical, because the rates of SIDS and other sleep-related deaths, particularly those occurring in bed-sharing situations, are highest in the first 6 months. Placing the crib close to the parents’ bed so that the infant is within view and reach can facilitate feeding, comforting, and monitoring of the infant. Room-sharing reduces SIDS risk and removes the possibility of suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment that may occur when the infant is sleeping in the adult bed.

My baby just turned six months old and we plan to keep him in our room for at least a year based on this recommendation, which our personal pediatrician also echoes. Moving him to his own room after that will depend on him to a degree. We want him to be independent but we like having him close by.

It's also becoming increasingly popular for parents to co-sleep (in the same bed) with their infants, though the AAP recommends against this, but the evidence against it is questionable depending on which study you look at.

  • The page you quoted explicitly says that there is no evidence it's bad. There really doesn't seem to be solid evidence for anything, it's all fishing in the dark and rationalizing whatever has been done traditionally. I'm pretty sure keeping the child in the parents' room serves no purpose other than giving the parents peace of mind and convenience of nighttime feeds. – Michael Borgwardt Feb 28 '17 at 10:20
  • @MichaelBorgwardt: There does seem to be evidence that sleeping in the parents' room reduces the risk of Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). See e.g. The latest ideas about SIDS prevention: How to reduce the risk of SIDS, which mentions a study that found that "In a large study of European SIDS cases, researchers found that SIDS rates were lowest for babies who slept in the same room as their parents did, but in a separate crib or cot (Carpenter et al 2004)". – sleske Feb 28 '17 at 11:26
  • @MichaelBorgwardt Considering the standard practice was letting babies sleep on their stomachs and the AAP is working hard to get people to put their babies "back to sleep" immediately refutes that assertion. Additionally, if the AAP says having the baby in the room with you reduces the chances of SIDS, that sounds to me like being in a separate room increases it, which means it's bad. Even if it's not a major increase, as a parent, I want to give my infant the best possible chance. – Catija Feb 28 '17 at 16:21
  • @Catija: the AAP, at least in the quote does not, in fact, say that having the baby in the room with you reduces the chances of SIDS. It actually says "there is no specific evidence". Basically they're saying "we having nothing to base this on but we recommend it anyway". – Michael Borgwardt Mar 1 '17 at 8:29
  • @MichaelBorgwardt are we reading different excerpts: Room-sharing reduces SIDS risk and removes the possibility of suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment that may occur when the infant is sleeping in the adult bed. – Catija Mar 1 '17 at 13:22
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I think it is simply a matter of choice. Babies here do tend to have rooms that they may or may not share with siblings, but I think many if not most infants sleep with mum and dad for the first 10 pounds at least -- when the child starts sleeping through most nights. I was born in the 50s and even then we slept in a bassinet with our mums near to us.

"Why is that?"

Like here, there are fads and ideas and new information that 'everyone' believes or acts upon as the best way. When I was a child, we were put to sleep face down, with stuffed animals and blankets. Here in Texas, the ads on TV warn parents to put their children face up, no blankets or toys in the crib and that co-sleeping in the same bed is BAD.

China is no better or worse than anywhere. Children are loved and cared for and we all want what is best for them. I seriously doubt it is a by country or racial thing. It's basic biology -- we all love our children and want the best for them. We act on the information we have and we use our instincts as well.

  • That's not Texas... that's the entire US. – Catija Feb 27 '17 at 23:42
  • I have not been everywhere in the USA, and have never watched TV in any other state... so I will take your word for that! – WRX Feb 27 '17 at 23:55
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Children thrive under a huge variety of parenting practices. With the exception of the first 6 months, where bedsharing is unsafe, children and their parents can do perfectly well either way.

never raise your voice to the child, never discipline the child, etc. And calls for unconditional sacrifice of the parents' schedule/sleep/health for the child.

None of that sounds healthy for the parents, or therefore, for the family as a whole. Especially since I bet that it isn't that "parents" are expected to sacrifice everything, so much as mother are expected to sacrifice everything.

Even "independant-minded Americans" know that everyone in a family has to cooperate and work together to make things work, that often, children have to not get what they want in order for the family top run smoothly.

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No, there's nothing particularly good or bad about it.

The elephant in the room is SID (Sudden Infant Death). People are absolutely terrified of it, but nobody knows what causes it or how to prevent it, and it's very rare so there's only rather flimsy statistical evidence that some aspects of sleeping arrangements might reduce the risk - namely having the baby sleep not in the parents' bed, on the back and without any blankets or toys. There's no strong indication that sleeping the the same room as the parents reduces the risk, but if it helps the parents sleep better because they'd otherwise worry too much, it's also good for the baby.

However, there is undeniably one advantage of having the baby in the parents' room, ideally in a bedside cot or "babybay" - it makes nighttime feeding much easier and quicker (especially if the mother breastfeeds), which again improves the parents' sleep.

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