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3 November 2021 - 3 November 2021

12:00PM - 1:00PM

Online - Zoom Participants wishing to ask questions can do so via zoom chat.

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This is the image alt text Monitoring Sleep

For over twenty years research at DISC (formerly the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab) has been influencing infant sleep guidance in the UK that is spreading around the world.

We demonstrated the close link between increased breastfeeding frequency and mother-baby night-time contact via two randomised trials of night-time care on a UK postnatal ward. We explored why, when and how UK parents sleep with their babies, revealing that 50% of UK parents rejected ‘never co-sleep’ guidance for various reasons. We showed that parents need tailored information on infant sleep safety, and that a blanket ‘risk elimination’ approach is disregarded as unrealistic. In 2012 we launched the Baby Sleep Information Source (Basis) to make academic information on the relationship between sleep and breastfeeding available online to parents and health practitioners. This talk will consider how the research of DISC and the outreach work of Basis have contributed to a rethink of the official infant sleep safety guidance in the UK to accommodate the needs of culturally diverse families and acknowledge the benefits to mothers and babies of sleeping together while providing information about hazards to avoid, and how UK and international organisations have used our work to develop new policies for staff and guidance for parents, epitomised by new national guidance on infant sleep safety in 2019 by Public Health England, and a new international protocol in 2020 by the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

Speaker Biography 

Professor Helen Ball, BSc, MA, PhD

Durham Infancy & Sleep Centre, & Baby Sleep Information Source (BASIS), Department of Anthropology, Durham University, Durham, UK

Professor Helen Ball researches the sleep ecology and behaviour of parents and babies, infant sleep development, and the discordance between biological and cultural views on sleep. Her research is used in national and international policy and practice guidelines on infant care, and was awarded the 2018 Queen’s Anniversary Prize.