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Durham University

Durham Infancy & Sleep Centre

Durham Infancy & Sleep Centre

DISC at the Festival of Social Science

The ESRC Festival of Social Science is an annual, week-long series of engagement events held across the UK, running from 7-15 November, with the purpose of promoting and increasing awareness of social science and the ESRC’s research by encouraging researchers to hold events aimed at non-academic audiences.

Professor Helen Ball will be running an event at the festival titled: What is normal infant sleep?: A view from Anthropology on 11th November at 6pm.

In this talk Professor Helen Ball will draw on her 25 years of research into parent-baby sleep at Durham University to explore the mismatch between biologically normal infant sleep, socio-historical norms of infant sleep, and statistically normal patterns of infant sleep to explain why parents struggle with this fundamental aspect of infant care, and what we (families, friends, society) can do to help them.

This event will include a online lecture and live discussion with Professor Helen Ball. Attendance at the event is free and you can register your interest here.

**Parent-Infant Sleep Lab 20th Anniversary Conference is now POSTPONED to April 2021**

More details in due course.

The Durham Infancy & Sleep Centre (DISC--formerly the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab) is a research centre of the Department of Anthropology, the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health and the Wolfson Institute for Health & Well-being. It is the home for a group of researchers examining various aspects of infant and child sleep and parenting behaviour. The original lab was opened in 2000 at Queen's Campus, and the research programmes it houses have been in operation since 1995. As our research team has grown our research focus has broadened to cover infant and child sleep ecology, sleep development, sleep safety, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), parental sleep, night-time infant care, feeding practices, thermal care and infant thermoregulation during sleep, twin infant sleep behaviour and physiology, postnatal ward environments and maternal-infant sleep, cross cultural infant care practices, and the evaluation of interventions affecting parental and infant sleep. We collaborate with academics from a wide range of disciplines around the world, and with a variety of research users. We created and run the Baby Sleep Info Source for parents and health professionals in order to make academic infant sleep research findings available to parents and health professionals.The Sleep Lab was renamed DISC, and relocated to Durham in 2018. DISC provides opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students to become involved in our research, and we welcome enquiries.

Our research wins Durham University the Queen's Anniversary Prize

Durham University has been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education - the highest accolade for any academic institution and part of the national honours system in the United Kingdom. The prize from the Royal Anniversary Trust has been awarded for ‘leading influential research on parent-infant sleep with a widely-used public information service’. The awards are approved by The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister from recommendations made by the Royal Anniversary Trust. Durham University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge, commented: “We are hugely honoured to receive this prestigious award, which recognises the immensely valuable and wide-reaching impact of the research carried out by the team in the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab. At Durham, we aim to deliver research that is world-leading and world-changing and the work of the Parent-Infant Sleep Lab is a perfect example of this commitment.”

See also: Research that helps parents and babies... and for video of the event see here

Latest Publications

  • Blair, P. S., Ball, H. L., McKenna, J. J., Feldman-Winter, L., Marinelli, K. A., Bartick, M. C.. (2020). Bedsharing and Breastfeeding: The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol #6, Revision 2019. Breastfeeding Medicine, 15(1), 5–16.
  • Ball HL, Tomori C, McKenna JJ. (2019) Towards and integrated anthropology of infant sleep. American Anthropologist
  • Marinelli, K. A., Ball, H. L., McKenna, J. J., & Blair, P. S. (2019). An Integrated Analysis of Maternal-Infant Sleep, Breastfeeding, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Research Supporting a Balanced Discourse. Journal of Human Lactation, 35(3), 510–520.
  • Ball, H. L. (2019). Conducting Online Surveys. Journal of Human Lactation, 35(3), 413–417.
  • Helen L Ball. (2019) The Mother-Infant Sleep Nexus: night-time experiences in early infancy and later outcomes In The Mother-Infant Nexus in Anthropology: Small beginnings, significant outcomes. Edited by Rebecca Gowland. Sian Halcrow. Springer: London.
  • Helen L. Ball (2019) Breastfeeding and Infant Sleep: what medical professionals need to know Breastfeeding for Medical Professionals eds Brown and Jones. Routledge: London
  • C Tomori, K Boyer (2019) Domestic Geographies of Parental and Infant (Co-) Becomings: Home-Space, Nighttime Breastfeeding, and Parent–Infant Sleep Annals of the American Association of Geographers 109 (4), 1172-1187
  • M Bartick, C Tomori (2019) Sudden infant death and social justice: A syndemics approach Maternal & child nutrition 15 (1), e12652

To view all DISC related publications, click here.

Contact Details

Durham Infancy & Sleep Centre
(formerly Parent-Infant Sleep Lab)
Hilton Cottage
Old Elvet

Baby Sleep Info Source