Study to clear up co-sleeping

THE lack of guidelines for hospital midwives on the controversial practice of new mums co-sleeping with their babies is being investigated as part of a world-first study in Australia.

Many mums end up sleeping alongside their newborns, either deliberately or by accident, despite mixed findings on whether it is beneficial or potentially harmful for their babies.

But many hospital midwives receive little or no education about co-sleeping, so are unable to advise mums of the pros and cons before they head home with their newborns.

Queensland midwife Cassia Drever-Smith has begun a study on what information is available to hospital midwives in the hope a clear set of guidelines can be drawn up.

Ms Drever-Smith believes most Australian hospitals do not have publicly available clinical guidelines.

“My hypothesis is that with the advent of smaller families, late parturition (childbirth) and living away from relatives, a lot of women’s first experience is not based on advice from their mums, aunties and sisters but from midwives,” she said. “So we need to give women the tools they need about safe sleeping and that begins in the hospitals.”


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