April 2013 Moms

sleeping while nursing

So an earlier conversation on this board about falling asleep while nursing and the suffocation risk scared the h out of me. I nurse sitting up on a couch with a boppy. I occasionally will fall asleep leaning back for a few minutes at a time. My baby has never moved and neither have I really. Is the risk that I will roll over on him or that he will roll onto a cushion? How do you guys keep yourselves from falling asleep in the MOTN?

Re: sleeping while nursing

  • I nurse sitting up as well, never laying down. But I can't count how many times I've dozed off. I always put her back to bed when I realize that she's still in my arms, but no matter what I have playing on the tv or playing on my phone/kindle to keep myself awake - I still doze off. And baby is always safe in my arms on her back on a pillow in my lap.
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  • I used to nurse in the MOTN lying down & we would both fall asleep.  I got scared of suffocating him so now I sit up with my back against the wall & him on his boppy.


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  • At certain times of the day, usually late afternoon, when I know I might nod off while nursing, I plan for it. As far as I'm concerned, it's much safer to create an environment where you can both nap safely than to try and avoid falling asleep in an unsafe one.

    Clear the area of potential hazards like pillows. The Boppy should be fine, though. If your couch is really puffy, I would move somewhere else. Get yourself into a position where if you fall asleep it is unlikely that either you or baby will move. If you're really worried still, nurse in the side-lying position with the baby in the middle of the bed or between you and a wall and away from any pillows or blankets that could cover his mouth and nose if he unlatches.

    Breastfeeding releases hormones in your body that make you nod off while nursing, but also keep you in a lighter state of sleep than if you weren't nursing to make you more responsive to baby. You are better off napping with baby than making yourself stay awake and risking sleep deprivation. If you fall asleep when overly tired, you are less likely to respond to baby.

    Unicef Guidelines for Safe Cosleeping: http://www.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly/Resources/Resources-for-parents/Caring-for-your-baby-at-night/

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