Sleep Schools for parents of new babies. Sound good? Nope! Here's why!
Nov 22, 2018 —
Victorian Labor have an election promise:
They want to build 7 new "sleep schools" for parents of new babies.
- Sleep schools are a super expensive model.
They could train and employ postnatal doulas to deliver in home support much more cheaply, meaning more families could get help.
- Sleep schools offer two types of attendance, day stay and overnight.
The overnight is 5 days. Which means if you're working you need to get time off (often on short notice), if you have other kids you need to get them looked after, and your partner usually can't come for more than an hour or two in the evening. which leads to
- They focus on mum and baby out of context - out of their own home, away from the rest of the family, and without all the realities of that family's life.
Again in home support would be more effective.
- Because they isolate mum this way, they continue to promote and reinforce outdated gender roles.
To quote a mother's experience "it was education driven by sexism, enforcing societal pressure that mum was responsible for the baby, and the household."
- There's no practical support once you leave.
You get 5 days and then you're on your own back at home.
It's the at home support that so many parents need.
Someone to do the laundry or make you a snack. Someone to take the kids to the park so you can nap, take a shower. etc.
- The information/help you receive is highly variable. Depending which nurses you get you could have a lovely gentle experience where your personal values, family set up and goals are taken into account or you could be held outside a locked door whilst your child screams and told you'll have to leave if you don't do it that way. The current sleep schools are churning out far too many traumatised mothers (and babies) due to lack of consistency in staff training and approach.
Surely it would be better to fix that issue before adding 7 more.
And finally -
- Sleep schools promote solitary sleep, and limiting night feeds, which are a SIDS risk and detrimental to breastfeeding respectively.
Government money should not be being spent on health initiatives that are not evidence based, and have the potential to cause more negative health outcomes downstream.
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