Evidence-based safe-sleep practices to ensure that all babies and parents sleep safely

 As universal as sleep is, it’s amazing how taboo a subject it becomes when tiny humans are involved. New parents are often confronted with questions from friends, relatives, health care providers and even strangers wondering how well their baby sleeps. 

Image source: National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep https://www.nichq.org/safe-sleep-and-breastfeeding-image-gallery

“Is she a good sleeper?” leaves much room for interpretation. Are babies considered good sleepers if they follow biological norms or if they adhere to the unrealistic, cultural sleep standards that we’ve forced upon them and their parents? 

It is uncommon for parents to receive solid, evidence-based sleep recommendations for their babies, and with roughly one third of adults in America sleep deprived,  it’s no wonder parents seek and find solutions on their own. 

Breastfeeding families might find that bed-sharing inadvertently happens, but might be hesitant to speak with their care providers about safe bed-sharing behavior since it is often but falsely prescribed as never acceptable

Some families discover a diverse collection of sleep training methods that promise sweet, sweet sleep despite the consequential effects of sleep training, which can be frustrating to lactation care providers as most sleep training methods are also detrimental to breastfeeding relationships.  

Amidst the taboo, the confusion and the desperation for good sleep, there is the tragedy of the approximately 3,500 infants who die from sleep-related causes every year in the U.S.

National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) just wrapped up its campaign advancing advocacy, protection, and promotion of evidence-based safe-sleep practices to ensure that all babies are sleeping safely in celebration of Sleep Awareness Week 2021.

Image source: National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep https://www.nichq.org/safe-sleep-and-breastfeeding-image-gallery

The organization has compiled a wealth of evidence-based safe-sleep strategies and resources like their social media toolkit, conversation modules for health care providers, a literature review  and more. 

You can access all of their resources here including articles on health equity for safe sleep and breastfeeding outcomes. 

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