Once you give birth to a little bundle of joy, you hardly get any time for yourself and will be absorbed in the process of taking care of your baby. This translates to very little rest and exhaustion almost every day. Hence, many mothers tend to fall asleep when they sit or lie down while nursing their babies. This, however, can be extremely dangerous for the little ones. It is advised that you take the necessary precautions to ensure that you do not fall asleep while breastfeeding your baby. In this article, we have covered the information on why you should not be sleepy while breastfeeding your baby.
It is a known fact that new moms rarely get a good night’s sleep. However, it’s not just the lack of sleep and fatigue that makes mother sleepy while nursing her baby. When you breastfeed your baby, your body releases a hormone called oxytocin. This hormone triggers positive emotions in you and strengthens the bond between you and your baby. Oxytocin is also known to relax and make one feel calm.
In addition to this, your body also releases the hormone prolactin when you breastfeed. This hormone makes you feel relaxed and soothes you enough to make you feel sleepy. With both these hormones in abundance, you are more likely to fall asleep while breastfeeding.
Watched a mother falling asleep while breastfeeding her baby and thinking why did this happen? Here are some reasons why mothers are often breastfeeding while sleeping.
Newborn babies are fed every two to three hours. The schedule leads to a lack of continuous sleep for the mother, making her feel tired.
An important hormone to produce breast milk. It makes the mother feel a sense of relaxation, leading to sleepy while breastfeeding.
The baby is usually fed in a dark, well-ventilated room. The mother is also likely to be seated on a comfortable sleep surface, making for a comfortable breastfeeding experience that makes her doze off.
No, it is not safe to fall asleep while breastfeeding. Although your body may work against you and try to put you to sleep while you nurse your baby, you need to stay vigilant and not give in, as there are dangers of falling asleep while breastfeeding. You will lose your hold on the baby if you fall asleep while breastfeeding. You may also end up smothering and suffocating your baby, especially if you are co-sleeping.
Follow the steps mentioned below before you begin to breastfeed your baby to lower the possibility of any threat to the baby.
In order to minimise the risks of falling asleep while breastfeeding, you can prepare ahead by propping up against something comfortable. You could lean against a large pillow (something comfortable but not too cosy!) or a comfortable large sofa. Position yourself in a way that will be safe for your baby even if you accidentally happen to shut your eyes. In case you are sitting on a sofa, stay away from the edges to prevent any instances of you or the baby slipping off.
While you might wake your baby up with this method, you could set an alarm or a timer to wake yourself up if you have the habit of falling asleep while breastfeeding. You can try and keep the volume of the alarm low or keep it on vibration mode 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, so this trick should be your last resort.
You can ask your partner to check on you at a particular time to ensure that you haven’t fallen asleep. You won’t have to worry about drifting off to sleep if you know that your partner or a family member will wake you up.
It is important that you clear away any items that could be a potential threat to your baby. Ensure that there are no sharp objects or hot beverages lying within an arm’s distance from you. This is to ensure that no accidental spills happen if you do move around a little while breastfeeding.
Do not consume hot beverages or food items while breastfeeding your baby. It can be dangerous for your baby if you fall asleep.
While breastfeeding your baby, make safety arrangements, like providing pillows or cushions around the couch. So even if you fall asleep, your baby will not get hurt.
To ensure that your baby is comfortable while nursing, try your best to relax. Your little one can sense if you’re tense and nervous, and they won’t latch on correctly.
Sleep deprivation is a real problem when you have a little one to take care of. But to prevent any dangers that may crop up, you can do a couple of things to avoid falling asleep while breastfeeding.
Taking care of a newborn is not easy and no doubt, you will be feeling exhausted most of the time. You will want to sleep as much as you can, whenever you can. However, it is important to prioritise your baby’s safety. A few precautions taken can go a long way in preventing accidents while breastfeeding.
1. Safe sleep for your baby; .marchofdimes.org; https://www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/parenthood/safe-sleep-your-baby
2. How Often and How Much Should Your Baby Eat?; healthychildren.org; https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/How-Often-and-How-Much-Should-Your-Baby-Eat.aspx
3. Tips for breastfeeding success; thewomens.org.au; https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-overview/tips-for-breastfeeding-success
4. Sleeping While Breastfeeding: 10 Sanity Saving Tips; sleepadvisor.org; https://www.sleepadvisor.org/breastfeeding-and-sleep/
5. The physiological basis of breastfeeding; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK148970/
This post was last modified on July 27, 2023 1:32 pm
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