The Best Start Program provides all new and expecting parents in Colorado with essential education and resources on the three following pillars:
- Safe sleep and reducing infant mortality
- Breastfeeding and human milk as baby’s first food
- Brain building activities so children can thrive
Safe Sleep & Baby Boxes
Best Start baby boxes are utilized to promote safe sleep habits, which can be challenging for sleep-deprived parents and particularly for breastfeeding mothers. According to a recent study released by Temple University Hospital, 59 percent of mothers who exclusively breastfed their babies and used a baby box said it made breastfeeding easier, due to the proximity of the baby boxes at night. This study also found that baby boxes cut co-sleeping rates in breastfeeding mothers by half since mothers can keep the baby box close by without having to co-sleep out of convenience.
Infant mortality refers to the death of an infant before his or her first birthday. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants sleep alone, on their backs on a firm surface and in the same room as an adult. All parents and families, especially those from populations with higher infant mortality rates, need access to education and support in implementing sleep practices that will contribute to keeping babies healthy and safe in the first months of their lives.
The statewide program will provide access to online education through Baby Box University earmarking approximately 66,500 free Best Start baby boxes for distribution, the estimated number of Colorado babies expected to be delivered within one year, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
Learn more about the baby box movement.
Breastfeeding – Baby’s best first food
Human milk is the natural first food for babies as it provides all the energy and nutrients infants need for the first months of life, promotes sensory and cognitive development, and protects against infectious and chronic diseases. Cultural norms, social pressures, health issues and everyday life barriers can lead a mother to never breastfeed or to discontinue breastfeeding early. In all cases, it is essential that parents and families are educated on how human milk contributes to a baby’s health and is supported in making the best possible choice for their baby’s first food.
Brain Building Activities
Parent and child relationships where adults promote positive interaction aid social and emotional development and critical thinking skills. The earliest years of life are the most critical for brain development, and future growth stems from a child’s earliest experiences. Parents need approachable and accessible guidance and support to make the most of this critical period of their child’s life.