Bringing the Parent Back into Decisions about Nighttime Care

Wendy Middlemiss
Clinical Lactation, 2013, Vol 4-2, 71-76


New parents often have many questions and concerns about how to help their children grow strong and healthy. Unfortunately, when it comes to nighttime care, healthcare providers often tell parents what to do rather than discussing options. Healthcare providers might give parents specific advice about how to handle nighttime wakings, for example, without inquiring about parents’ beliefs and preferences. When healthcare providers simply tell parents what to do, parents may choose to ignore the advice if it is not consistent with their beliefs and preferences. When parents and healthcare providers do not communicate, parents do not get the information they need to cope with some of the more challenging aspects of infancy, including nighttime waking. This article presents information on how to bring parents back into decisions about nighttime care by discussing issues more broadly, addressing parents’ concerns regarding responsiveness, and focusing on the essentials of infant safety and health. When lactation consultants can have open discussions with parents, parents gain the tools they need to make decisions that best fit their families’ needs.

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