In response to new NICE guidance on home births and co-sleeping, Elizabeth Duff, Senior Policy Adviser, NCT, said:
“This guidance is welcome as it should give more women the confidence to plan to give birth in a midwife-led unit or at home. These options are safe for most women and can offer benefits such as care from a known midwife and less intervention. Health commissioners should now put these guidelines into practice as soon as possible and make home and community birth a real, not just theoretical, option.”
“We welcome NICE’s guidance that all parents should have more information about sleeping safely with their babies but we are concerned that NICE has not distinguished between co-sleeping on sofas or chairs and bed-sharing. There is evidence that it is more dangerous to fall asleep with a baby on a sofa or chair so this is a missed opportunity to point this out.
“We know that more than half of parents sleep with their babies in the first few months so it’s disappointing that NICE guidance fails to reflect this reality. We’re worried that the mixed messages in these guidelines will increase parents’ anxiety or lead to them into riskier sleeping situations with their babies.”