Letting Your Baby Nurse All Night: Is It Okay?
Parents have slept with their babies since the beginning of time. In fact, one of the most delicious feelings a woman can experience is having her sweet baby sleep at her breast. In fact, it is so comforting that tired moms often find themselves falling asleep while nursing, too! And, unfortunately, that’s where it becomes risky.
A study of more than 2,000 breastfeeding moms revealed that 72% of those who nursed in bed fell sound asleep with their babies. And 44% fell asleep while nursing on a sofa or recliner. That’s very worrisome because increasing numbers of babies suffocate when sleeping in their parents’ bed . . . and there is even a greater risk when sleeping on a sofa or chair!
If you insist on bed sharing there are ways to reduce your baby’s risk. But I would still caution you not to bed share for the first 9-12 months. Research shows that most new parents are sleep deprived, and when we are exhausted we have the same poor judgment and inattention as someone who’s drunk!
Video studies show that bed-sharing babies spend 2/3 of the night lying in the riskier side position and have their mouths covered with a sheet or blanket for more than an hour each night. When you’re bone weary, you might not realize you’re accidentally obstructing your baby’s face with a blanket or your arm.
So keep your baby right next to your bed – in a co-sleeper, smart sleeper (like SNOO), or bassinet – but don’t sleep together on a sofa or bring her into your bed.