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Once the baby is born, new mothers hardly get time for themselves and are quite absorbed in caring for their baby. This translates to very little rest and exhaustion almost on an everyday basis. Hence, many mothers tend to fall asleep as they sit or lie down while nursing their baby. This, however, can be extremely dangerous for your baby. It is advised that you take the necessary precautions to ensure that you do not slip into sleep while breastfeeding your baby.
Is It Natural For A Mom To Fall Asleep While Breastfeeding A Newborn?
It is well known that new moms very rarely get a full night’s sleep. However, it’s not just the lack of sleep and fatigue that causes you to become sleepy while nursing your baby. During breastfeeding, the body releases a hormone called oxytocin hormone. This hormone triggers positive emotions in you and creates a stronger bond with your baby. Oxytocin is also known to relax you and make you feel calmer.
In addition to this, the body also releases a hormone called prolactin as you breastfeed. This hormone also makes you feel relaxed and soothes you enough to make you sleepy. With both these hormones in abundance, your body will naturally have the tendency to fall asleep during breastfeeding.
Is It Safe To Fall Asleep While Breastfeeding?
No. It is not safe to fall asleep during breastfeeding. Although your body may work against you and try to put you to sleep while nursing the baby, you need to stay vigilant and not give in. This is because you will lose control of your hold on the baby if you fall asleep while breastfeeding. You may also end up accidentally smothering and suffocating the baby, especially when you are co-sleeping.
Things To Keep In Mind When You Are About To Breastfeed
It is a good practice to follow certain steps before you begin to breastfeed so that the possibility of any threat to the baby is evaded. Here are a few things that you could keep in mind.
- Prop up
In order to minimize the risks of falling asleep while breastfeeding, you can prepare ahead by propping up against something comfortable. You could lean on a large pillow or a comfortable large sofa. Position yourself in a way that will make it safe for your baby even if you accidentally happen to shut your eye. In case you are sitting on a sofa, stay away from the edges to prevent any instances of you or the baby slipping down.
- Set An Alarm
Although you will need to be careful about waking your baby up with the sound of the alarm, you can set an alarm or a timer to wake you up if you fall asleep while breastfeeding. You can try and keep the volume very low or keep it in vibration so that your baby isn’t disturbed. It is also important to keep in mind that using a phone near a baby isn’t recommended. It is best if this method is followed only in case nothing else seems to work.
- Take Help From Your Partner
The next best thing to an alarm is asking your partner to check on you at a particular time to ensure that you haven’t fallen asleep. Your mind will be more at rest if you are sure that your partner or a family member will positively wake you up.
- Clear Out The Surroundings
It is important that you clear out any items that could be a potential threat to your baby. Be careful that no sharp objects or hot beverages are lying within an arm’s distance from you. This is to ensure that no accidental spills or drops happen if you move around a little while breastfeeding.
How To Stop Falling Asleep When Breastfeeding?
Sleep deprivation is a real problem when you have a little one to take care of. But, to prevent any dangers that may ensue, you can try to follow a couple of things to avoid falling asleep while breastfeeding.
- Stay well rested. Although this is easier said than done, you will want to work on this. Even if you have take naps in your spare time, you need to get enough sleep so that you don’t accidentally sleep as you breastfeed.
- Sit up straight. It is better to sit on a comfortable chair without cushions or pillows in order to stay awake. Cosy sofas and chairs fuel your sleep and can make you slip into sleep faster. However, as discussed earlier, make sure you are well propped up and supported.
- Eat right. Healthy foods for breastfeeding moms can give you an energy boost to keep you functioning for longer. Consume foods that are rich in protein and healthy carbs like peanut butter, nuts, and yoghurt. These can also fulfil your calorie need to keep up milk supply. However, remember that while drinks laden with sugar can give you an energy boost, they will also drain you out faster, which can be counterproductive to your purpose. Also, do not drink caffeinated drinks as they can be passed on to your baby through the milk.
- Keep your mind engaged. You can read a book or use your tablet or simply strike a conversation with your partner. However, if it’s your baby’s nap time, then it is better to rely on books and tablets as speaking can disturb your baby.
Taking care of your newborn baby can be tiring. You will want to sleep as much as you can, whenever you can. However, it is important to keep the safety of your little one in mind, and a few precautions can go a long way in preventing accidents while breastfeeding.