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Georgetown UniversityNCEMCH


The National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health (NCEMCH) at Georgetown University, in collaboration with its partners—the National Center for Cultural Competence, CJ First Candle, and the United States Breastfeeding Committee—is pleased to present the National Action Partnership to Promote Safe Sleep (NAPPSS). NAPPSS engages a coalition of over 70 advocacy organizations, professional associations, faith communities, and business groups with the active involvement of federal partners, including the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and NICHD's Safe to Sleep campaign. The mission of NAPPSS is to develop and implement the National Action Plan to Increase Safe Infant Sleep and partner to support breastfeeding among infant caregivers by activating systems, supports, and services to systematically work together to make safe infant sleep and breastfeeding a national norm.

From Campaigns to Conversations. Building on the success of national safe-to-sleep public education campaigns to raise awareness of safe infant sleep behaviors, NAPPSS will focus on the next step—moving from awareness to action. While informational campaigns are essential in raising knowledge about the importance of safe sleep behaviors and breastfeeding, active listening and shared communication among mothers, fathers, family members, health and social service providers, child care educators, and others in the community are the necessary next steps to fully engage caregivers in adopting integrated approaches to safe sleep practices and breastfeeding. Conversations must take place not only in traditional settings—doctor visits, WIC clinics, childbirth classes, hospitals, and child care centers—but also in settings where families gather (neighborhood parks, worship settings, shopping malls, community health fairs) and receive information (Mommy-blogger sites, You-Tube videos, ethnic media broadcasts).

Integrating Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding into Systems. Engaging caregivers in conversations about safe sleep and breastfeeding requires a large group of champions who understand that safe sleep and breastfeeding are everyone's business. NAPPSS has expanded the circle of those promoting integrated approaches to safe sleep and breastfeeding beyond health and public health organizations to non-traditional partners at the national and local levels who touch families and other caregivers, whose opinions are respected, and who are ready to promote safe sleep and breastfeeding as part of their mission. Through collaborations between traditional and new partners, NAPPSS is developing a coordinated, systematic approach to spread the safe sleep and breastfeeding message—by identifying barriers to safe sleep practices and breastfeeding, developing a comprehensive rationale for safe sleep and breastfeeding recommendations, and crafting individually tailored strategies responsive to personal beliefs and circumstances and that promote both infant safety and developmental nurturing.

Action Steps. To create effective conversations in promoting an integrated approach to safe infant sleep and breastfeeding while addressing the challenges in expanding the safe sleep and breastfeeding message beyond traditional settings and partners, NAPPSS:

  • Created a National Action Plan with members of an Expert Leadership Group, including prominent researchers and representatives of government agencies and national professional and advocacy organizations.
  • Recruited National Action Partners with representatives from a broad set of national organizations (media outlets and manufacturers, injury prevention and child care programs, health and human services organizations, representatives of racial and ethnic communities, and breastfeeding advocates) who will promote safe sleep and breastfeeding through their connections and will influence local counterparts in their communities.
  • Convened an Action Forum—A National Wake-Up Call—to brainstorm innovative approaches to engage families in conversations about safe sleep and breastfeeding.
  • The NAPPSS Coalition Members will join action teams to implement action steps generated at the Action Forum.
  • Employs a "concierge" model of project staff to activate partners, build relationships, and catalyze implementation of the National Action Plan. This intensive service model will provide sustained support in ensuring success in implementing the National Action Plan.

September 2015