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Best Practices

 Information for the lactating parent: "Best"= information to help you decide your "Practice"= in your situation.  The links are guidelines, from authorities in the field, developed through analyzing data, mostly of undesirable outcomes.    I have reviewed  the available info, recalling my  personal and professional experience to glean priorities that seem important to the families I serve.  Read my 2-cents for practical application, but consider spending some time reviewing these links for all the pertinent information.  Last Updated 6/7/21

Learn about what to expect about your Baby's sleeping habits, and sleep-related deaths .  Most families will sleep with their infants, intentionally, or not.  Stigma attached to bed-sharing has had unfortunate consequences, such as co-sleeping on less-safe surfaces.   Intentional co-sleeping is safer.  Sleep practices are one way to reduce risk, breastfeeding is well-documented to cut the risk by >50%.  Some families feel that co-sleeping is the only way they can continue breastfeeding.  These factors need to be considered while a family decides upon their sleep practice, with an emphasis on decide. 


90% of sleep-related deaths which occurred while co-sleeping included risky circumstances.  Perhaps, if those risks are reduced, the ratio of sleep related deaths while Baby is sleeping alone vs co-sleeping would change.  In our lifetime, co-sleeping, with risk factors removed could come to be viewed as safer than Baby sleeping alone.  Some experts, currently, interpret the data to suggest that bed-sharing is protective, after 3 months of age.  It is not for every family, so make the right choice for yours.   

To reduce the risks:

Bed-Share, With these guidelines , or choose a co-sleeper to keep Baby near you. Either way, Baby should be in the room with you.

Sofa and Recliner co-sleeping is higher risk, no matter how cute it looks in a photo.   

No one in the bed can be under the influence of any substance that would cause drowsiness or impaired judgement.  

Every adult in the bed must be easily aroused, and feel responsible for Baby.  Plan that Baby will sleep on a separate surface, when adults indulge.  * Alcohol does not transfer in amounts that make your milk unsafe, but your actions can be unsafe, when you are under the influence.  Tolerance is effected by the usual prenatal abstinence, so 1 serving matters.  Consider consuming at a time that you will have metabolized the alcohol,  by the time you sleep with Baby.   

No co-sleeping with a regular smoker. 

Talk to with your HCP, if Baby is premature or low birthweight, for specifics on sleep practices for your family. 

Care of Breast Pump Kits

Review these guidelines  If refrigeration is not available, consider having a thermometer to be sure that the cooler pack stays <40F.

Preparing Formula

Review these guidelines  Always measure the water first, then add the powder.  It is a known risk that infant formula is contaminated.  For infants under 3 months old, born prematurely, or immunocompromised, follow these Cronobacter prevention guidelines.

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