Sleep (or getting enough), infant sleep safety and newborn behavior are important topics that you may be worried about and have given lots of consideration to even before the baby arrives. If you are taking a childbirth class, no doubt your childbirth educator is providing information on these topics, and this may include bed-sharing, co-sleeping and more.
While receiving the information during class time is valuable, retention and even more importantly, application of the information, weeks or months later, after your baby arrives may present a challenge for you and other new 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 you can use to access current and evidence based information about infant sleep and safe sleeping environments. This free app is available to download for IOS andAndroid devices.
The Infant Sleep App offers several key features including the following:
• Bed-sharing decision tool.
• Where will my baby sleep?
• How will my baby sleep?
• Sleep log to track baby’s sleep
• Sleep safety and SIDS
• Links to ISIS info sheets.
• Links to ISIS partner organizations
You are easily able to access this tool wherever you are in order to quickly, concisely and accurately answer your infant sleep questions. You (and caregivers of your baby) can read information about the benefits and risks of all the sleep choices (room sharing, bed sharing, separate rooms etc.) in order to make a decision that feels right to you.
There is a quick quiz consisting of several questions to determine if bed-sharing can be done safely with individual circumstances (have you been consuming alcohol, is the baby formula fed, etc). After answering the questions, the app advises if there are situations that might increase the risk of bed-sharing.
You can access information about how your newborn's sleep pattern changes as they grow and age, and what to realistically expect. There is also a sleep log to track your infant's sleep and this history is retrievable in both log and graph form, which is plotted against what is normal for a baby of similar age. This sleep log information can be shared in several electronic formats with others, including health care providers.
Finally, there is an exhaustive library of additional resources of both pdfs and online resources that you can access for additional information and help, if you have further questions.
I think this app is a great tool to both reinforce what you have learned in your childbirth education classes and to offer evidence based information in the exact sleep-deprived and confusing moment when you are wondering what is normal and how you can safely and appropriately maximize sleep while meeting your 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. I encourage you to download and explore the app yourself before your baby arrives.
Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA) BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE has been an active childbirth professional since 2004, teaching Lamaze classes and providing doula services to hundreds of couples through her private practice in Seattle, Washington. She also is a birth doula trainer and childbirth educator trainer. Sharon is a former co-leader of the International Cesarean Awareness Network’s (ICAN) Seattle Chapter, and a former board member of PALS Doulas and Past President of REACHE. Sharon has been the community manager and writer for Science & Sensibility, Lamaze International’s blog for birth professionals, since 2012. Learn more about Sharon at SharonMuza.com.