Online Program

Safe sleep vs. breastfeeding: Why is this issue still controversial?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Linda Smith, MPH, IBCLC, Bright Future Lactation Resource Centre Ltd., Dayton, OH
Exclusive breastfeeding is a known risk-reduction strategy for reducing SIDS and SUDI, yet Infant Mortality and SIDS-reduction groups mostly ignore, minimize, and discount the importance and feasibility of exclusive breastfeeding. Blanket “Never bedshare” messages have resulted in mothers bedsharing on truly unsafe surfaces such as couches. Formula companies are major contributors to SIDS-reduction organizations and researchers in the US and England. Much research on SIDS and SUDI uses confusing and contradictory terminology, fails to control for alcohol use and infant feeding method, and fails to clearly define the sleep surface and conditions when a deceased baby is found. Over 75% of breastfeeding mothers bedshare with their babies at least part of the night, and the lowest rates of SIDS and SUDI are found in the exclusive breastfeeding populations in the US and worldwide. This presentation calls upon SIDS/SUDI agencies and breastfeeding organizations to collaborate on safety messages that support breastfeeding and simultaneously reduce risk of SIDS and SUDI.

Learning Areas:

Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe unintended consequences of some Safe-sleep messages that may result in increased risk to infants. Describe conflicts of interest related to SIDS, Safe Sleep and Infant Mortality groups. Describe flaws and limitations in research studies that are used as the basis of Safe Sleep policies.

Keyword(s): Infant Mortality, Breastfeeding

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-author of an article on this specific issue published in JOGNN. I am currently contracted to write a book on this topic, and am the author of 4 textbooks in breastfeeding and human lactation. I serve on the Ohio Collaborative to Prevent Infant Mortality, a priority program of Ohio Department of Health and a comparable program in my county. I served as Breastfeeding Coordinator for Ohio Department of Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.