Infants and parents benefit from breastfeeding and sleeping near one another, reducing SIDS risk by 50%
Attachment Parenting International responds to 2016 AAP Statement on Infant Sleep
Nashville, TN. (October 26, 2016) – Attachment Parenting International (API) welcomes the AAP’s latest Statement on Infant Sleep that acknowledges the dilemma parents face in providing responsive nighttime infant care in accordance with past AAP guidelines.
API recognizes that many parents choose to keep their infant close at night to meet the infant's needs. As a result, API is encouraged that the AAP now recognizes that infants and parents both benefit by sleeping in proximity. The AAP advises parents to have infants in the same room at night instead of having them in another room, citing evidence that SIDS risk can be reduced by 50% when parents and infants sleep near each other. This advice improves support of the physiologically vulnerable infant by a responsive parent, and ideally will help parents avoid controversial practices of sleep training, “cry it out” methods, or solitary infant sleep.
Further, API is pleased that the AAP’s statement acknowledges that breastfeeding is associated with lower SIDS rates and that nighttime proximity improves breastfeeding rates. These new recommendations also recognize and understand that a parent may fall asleep while meeting the needs of the infant, and that falling asleep with an infant in a proactively prepared bed is preferable to falling asleep with an infant in a chair, couch or other unsafe location.
Parents seek solutions to get enough sleep at night while they also desire to respond to and care for their infants. Practical guidelines that recognize the critical parenting role and related challenges can help parents attend to their infant’s needs at night while avoiding risky products or products that do not provide the full benefits of sleeping in proximity, such as baby monitors, and avoiding falling asleep in chairs, rockers or sofas.
API urges the AAP to continue to examine recommendations that separate the mother-baby dyad during sleep. Breastfeeding mothers have always slept with their children as a matter of health and safety. Better data and accurate reporting of the causes of the tragic instances of infant death in the parent bed will help clarify and individualize recommendations. It is important to ensure that experts are not promoting cultural practices that undermine health and well being in the short and long term.
API advocates for practices that are dedicated to the physical and emotional safety of infants as well as long term health of all children; that empower parents to be educated on infant sleep, arousal, and breathing; and for decisions that are based in accurate data and compatible with biological needs. For more information on API’s Principle on ensuring safe sleep, emotionally and physically, please visit www.attachmentparenting.org.
For information on API infant sleep safety guidelines, including a free brochure for download, please visit http://www.attachmentparenting.org/infantsleepsafety.
Additional guidelines for safe sleeping are available at www.cosleeping.nd.edu
For the full AAP guidelines visit http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2016/10/20/peds.2016-2938