First let me say that this is NOT a safe way to sleep with your baby! NEVER fall asleep with your baby on a sofa! Read on…
But, it is a reality that every new parent is very likely to fall asleep (most likely while breastfeeding!) with their baby somewhere, at some point, in the first few months.
We’re tired. We’re up 2781764x a night changing diapers, figuring out breastfeeding, healing from birth, comforting an awake baby (or toddler!) We’re exhausted. 😴😴
But did you know that breastfeeding also naturally makes us sleepy? Particularly in the first few months of breastfeeding, that surge of prolactin and oxytocin you feel during a ‘let down’ ⚡️also causes you to relax, so you can fall asleep with your baby, because our bodies know we need rest to heal and be amazing 💪 mothers.
When mothers fight this sleepiness (3am nursing sessions, anyone?) by scrolling 📱 through their smartphones, turning on a light, walking to a nursery and sitting upright in a recliner to stay awake, they wake themselves more fully than necessary, and thus have a harder time falling fully BACK asleep before baby is awake again. This can cause even greater fatigue.
This is where SAFE bedsharing and cosleeping are so important. We have to talk about this, y’all. Safe cosleeping means
🚫 NEVER on the couch 🚫
🚫 Never in a recliner 🚫
✅ On a safe surface, with safe people, with a full-term infant, no smokers, a firm-ish mattress, no crazy pillows or blankets around baby ✅
This can be done safely, comfortably, and easily without any special equipment, and we need to start teaching this to parents right from the start, instead of telling them that cosleeping and bedsharing are unsafe, and then sending them home to unsafely fall asleep while nursing on the sofa.
This photo is of myself, ten years ago, almost to the day. My oldest child turned ten today, and I have learned so much in that decade. When he was born in the hospital, I was told to Never, ever cosleep, because it was so dangerous to babies. We went home and I basically spent zero time in my own bed that first week, because I was holding my baby on my chest almost nonstop, learning to nurse, meeting his needs.
But I had been told bringing him to my bed was dangerous. So we avoided it. And so we have about a dozen photos of me asleep in recliners and on sofas with our sweet baby. 🙂 We were afraid to cosleep, and knew nothing about safe cosleeping, but eventually I began bringing him to bed with me out of necessity. I was so exhausted, I didn’t know what else to do.
By the second and third babies, I knew better. 💜 We safely bedshared from birth. I slept. They slept. I breastfed and slept. They were safe and content. Everyone’s needs were met, and I didn’t have to fight those biological mechanisms that make mothers sleepy while nursing a newborn. We napped, gloriously, safely on my 🛏 bed, daily. We slept well despite ‘waking’ every couple of hours to take care of a newborn.
This is what we need to be teaching parents. Safe bedsharing. NEVER on a sofa or recliner. In bed. Safe and sound.
Links on safe bedsharing and cosleeping:
#safebedsharing #cosleeping #biologicallynormalinfantsleep #lactationconsultant #ibclc #jaxibclc #jaxmoms #motherhood #infantsleep #nighttimeparenting #breastfeeding #breastsleeping #bedsharing