As childbirth educators and birth professionals, we cover the topic of infant sleep frequently during a childbirth class. Preparing families for the transition to parenting a newborn, breastfeeding and navigating the postpartum period cannot effectively happen without talking about how to reduce the risk of SIDS, the feeding needs of newborns, and what a safe sleep environment looks like. Expectant families may have ideas about where and with whom their newborn will sleep, but after the baby arrives, realities may be considerably different than their "before baby" expectations. Educators have a responsibility to discuss what safe sleep looks like and how to keep a baby safe whether parents are bed-sharing, room-sharing or their newborn is sleeping in their own room, (which is not recommended).
While receiving the information during class time is valuable, retention and and even more importantly, application of the information, weeks or months later, after babies have arrived, presents a challenge for many families. The Infant Sleep Information Source (ISIS) in cooperation with Dr. Helen Ball, infant sleep expert and the Durham University Parent-Infant Sleep Lab and other organizations, provides up-to-date research based evidence about infant sleep, in forms which are accessible to parents and health professionals, supported by references to research relevant to families in the UK and worldwide.
In addition to a comprehensive website, ISIS has developed a free interactive smart phone and tablet app that parents can use to access current and evidence based information about infant sleep and safe sleeping environments. This free app is availale to download for IOS and Android devices.
The Infant Sleep App offers several key features including the following:
I think this app is a great tool to both reinforce what families have learned in their childbirth education classes and to offer evidence based information in the exact sleep-deprived and confusing moment when parents are wondering what is normal and how they can safely and appropriately maximize sleep while meeting their baby's developmental needs.
The fact that it is a free app available to all and published by a very reputable and well respected international infant sleep organization makes this product an excellent choice for guiding new parents through those first tender days, weeks and months. Today's parents (Millennials) expect "on demand", accurate information accessible to them on their smart devices and this Infant Sleep App effictively meets both those needs.
I encourage you to download and explore the app yourself and consider recommending this Infant Sleep App to the families you work with in your childbirth education classes, with your doula clients or as a patient in your OB or midwifery practice.
Science & Sensibility has covered the topic of newborn and infant sleep in previous posts. You may want to check out the information in some previous posts as well.
- Don't Sleep with Big Knives; Interesting (and Promising) Developments in the Mother-Infant Sleep Debate
- Access Safe Sleep Photos for Your Use - Help Families Reduce Unsafe Sleep Environments
- Bed-Sharing Image Archive Available to Demonstrate Safe Bed-Sharing to Families
- Sleeping Like a Mammal: Nighttime Realities for Childbirth Educators to Share with Parents
- October is SIDS Awareness Month - Educators Can Share Information to Help Families Reduce Risk!