Normalizing Biological Norms for Infant Sleep and Breastfeeding: Supporting Safe Bedsharing and Room Sharing
Sep 05, 2023
At Mome, our mission is to be a source of support and empowerment for mothers throughout their incredible journey of motherhood, going beyond just offering high-quality nursing-friendly dresses for moms. We understand that being a mom comes with its own unique set of challenges, and we are committed to connecting you with valuable resources to make your life easier and happier. We consider ourselves fortunate to have discovered women who share our vision, actively supporting mothers on this incredible journey, and forging partnerships with them.
Today we're thrilled to introduce you to Rachel, a holistic lactation consultant, the founder of Rachel's Lactation Consulting, and a mother of five. Whether you're experiencing issues like low milk supply, tongue and lip tie, mastitis, latch and positioning difficulties, or simply need expert guidance on breastfeeding, you can reach out to Rachel or follow her on Instagram (@rachelslactationconsulting) for insightful breastfeeding content.
Rachel has been sharing a wealth of expert advice on lactation, but today, we want to spotlight a topic of particular importance – the efforts of a North American organization to normalize biological norms for infant sleep and breastfeeding. Specifically, we'll explore their recommendation that encourages mothers to sleep in proximity to their infants, supported by scientific evidence, which advocates for safe bedsharing and room sharing.
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine released its latest protocol outlining best practices for breastfeeding medicine. This position statement is a remarkable achievement, benefiting both parents and healthcare providers by advancing the care and treatment of infants and mothers. Within this protocol, there are 14 key recommendations, and we will delve into the first 7 in this article.
Understanding Normal Infant Physiology:
The first recommendation underscores the significance of helping parents comprehend normal infant physiology and caring for their infants in a responsive manner. It addresses the disconnect between societal expectations regarding infant feeding and sleep and the reality of normal infant behavior.
Safe Sleep Proximity:
The second recommendation encourages mothers to sleep in proximity to their infants, provided there are no hazardous circumstances. This recommendation is firmly grounded in scientific evidence, advocating for safe bedsharing and room sharing as practices that promote the safety and efficacy of infant sleep.
Mitigating Risks of Bedsharing:
Recommendation three focuses on the need to mitigate potential risks associated with bed sharing while ensuring that the infant sleeps within arm's reach. It suggests practical solutions like using sidecars or bassinets to create diverse sleeping arrangements for infants.
Safe Positioning in Bed:
This recommendation places a spotlight on educating breastfeeding mothers about the "cuddle curl" position, a natural posture adopted while nursing. It also emphasizes the importance of educating bottle-feeding parents, including exclusively pumping moms, on safe positioning to protect their infants during co-sleeping situations.
Avoiding Disruptions to Nighttime Sleep:
Recommendation five highlights the importance of minimizing non-physiological disruptions to maternal and infant nighttime sleep. These disruptions can include turning on lights, pumping, bottle feeding, or placing the baby away from parents. By minimizing these disruptions, parental well-being is enhanced.
Encouraging Uninterrupted Sleep:
The sixth recommendation encourages both mothers and infants to return to sleep without interruption after nighttime breastfeeding. It suggests that burping and diaper changes should be minimized to promote uninterrupted sleep.
Contraindication of Sleep Training:
Finally, recommendation seven unequivocally states that sleep training in the first six months of life is contraindicated, and sleep training in the first year is not recommended. This is primarily due to the potential interference of sleep training with breastfeeding and milk supply, which could adversely affect an infant's nutrition.
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine's position statement on sleep and breastfeeding is a significant stride toward normalizing biological norms for infant sleep and breastfeeding in North America. These recommendations underscore the importance of responsive and safe practices that support both mothers and infants on their remarkable journey. At Mome, we stand alongside initiatives like this that prioritize the well-being of mothers and their precious little ones. Together, we can foster a nurturing and supportive environment for moms and babies alike, ensuring that every mother receives the support she deserves during this incredible journey of motherhood.