Module 3: Understanding Current Recommendations
Conversations Approach

3.1 About & Why

Not everyone talking with parents and other infant caregivers will be an expert on optimal breastfeeding or safe sleep. Anyone who is in a role to have a conversation with families can, however, have a basic understanding of the current recommendations for each and why those recommendations have been made. Being well versed in this information is essential for starting a conversation—knowing what is recommended and why provides the beginning of the dialogue. In a conversations approach, you bring a set of information that is based on research and evidence to the table—not a set of rules or “musts.” To share this effectively, you have to be prepared with information. In addition, a number of qualitative studies have let us know that caregivers want to know why a recommendation is being made.

As they make decisions about how to sleep and feed their infants and continue to do so over the course of infant development, they want information that will help them think through those choices. The information provided here includes some technical terms that you may want to “translate” into everyday language when sharing, but it is important that you understand the evidence used to create the recommendations.

The recommendations from the American Academy for Pediatrics (AAP) apply for the first year of an infant’s life, but sleep location is of particular importance in the first few months, which is reported to be a very vulnerable time—90% of sleep-related deaths happen in the first 6 months of life and there is a peak between 1 and 4 months. Breastfeeding, however, continues to provide benefits over the first year and the longer that is sustained, the stronger its impact.

This video explains the basics of the current recommendations from AAP for safe sleep and optimal breastfeeding for healthy infants.

Additional information in this module:

  • Over the course of the next few Recommendations videos and pages, we'll highlight the safe sleep recommendations that you’re most likely to talk about with parents and other infant caregivers, reviewing the rationales for each. 
  • In Going Deeper, you will find the sources for information presented in this module. It contains links to the AAP reports that provide the recommendations and the research used to make those recommendations and additional resources that provide more in-depth information about topics covered.
  • In Handouts, you will be able to download information sheets that contain much of the information from this module to use in planning your conversations with families and other caregivers.