Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding Forum


New and energetic channels of communications between federal and regional groups opened up on November 5 when First Candle hosted a day-long Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding Forum at Stamford Hospital, fostering new relationships to help advance the Safe Sleep Guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The event brought representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee together with those from the Connecticut Dept. of Children & Families, Madre Latina, New England Pediatrics, ProDoula, the New England Association of Neonatal Nurses and the Visiting Nurses of South Central Connecticut.

In addition, the AAP provided a presentation summarizing the results to date of its Social Media and Risk Reduction Training (SMART) Study, which looked into safe sleep and breastfeeding education and compliance.

Highlighting the afternoon session was a panel discussion, led by First Candle board member Dr. John Ciannella of Stamford Hospital, where the regional groups spoke out about the real-world situations that affect families’ understanding and adoption of safe sleep practices. The discussion is available on Facebook, where it has received nearly 1,500 views.

“Based on the feedback we received, everyone felt it was extremely enlightening to see what’s happening at both the federal and regional levels as it relates to Safe Sleep,” said Alison Jacobson, First Candle CEO. “We were also encouraged by the discussions around building bridges between the breastfeeding and safe sleep communities, and delivering Safe Sleep messaging in a way that is non-judgmental, culturally sensitive and recognizes the social determinants affecting adherence.”

The forum was underwritten by MAM North America, whose CEO Jennifer Mitchell came away “very impressed by the participants – passionate, knowledgeable people.”

“We consider this to be one of the most important events we’ve hosted,” Jacobson said, “and we look forward to doing more of the same. There is potential across all regions to learn about what national agencies are doing, and vice versa, and for leaders at all levels to work together.”