To a random person, how to stay awake while breastfeeding a baby shouldn’t be a difficult task for a nursing mother. Well, on many occasions, it usually is – but it is risky – and should be prevented at all costs.
In fact, some persons even find it ridiculous that a mother can fall asleep while breastfeeding a baby – I have been on either side of the divide – shamefully so. Thus, I will plead ‘the fifth’ before I proceed with this topic. Staying awake during breastfeeding was a big challenge for me at the initial stage when I had my first baby.
In this article, I will share the best methods to help you stay awake while breastfeeding. Let’s get to it!
Is it Okay to Fall Asleep While Breastfeeding?
To answer this question in one word, the answer is ‘NO!’ It is not okay to fall asleep while breastfeeding a baby. There is no feeling as fulfilling as when a mother and baby sleep together. But sadly, sleeping when breastfeeding your baby – especially when the baby falls asleep also, is very dangerous.
According to a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 72% of nursing mothers fall asleep when breastfeeding their babies. The study further went to show that mothers who breastfeed their babies on a bed or recliner were more prone to falling asleep than those who did not.
Although exhaustion is the major reason why mothers fall asleep while breastfeeding a baby, it is generally unforgivable because it is a major cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Falling asleep while breastfeeding a baby can suffocate your baby as you would be unable to control the inflow of milk into their mouths. Also, sometimes the way the breasts cover the mouth and nose area could lead to suffocation also.
What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) refers to the unexpected and sudden death of a baby between 0 – 12 months.
The doctors will term the cause of death as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome after there are no traceable medical complications and accidents that led to the death of the baby.
Babies who die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome as in cases such as the mother falling asleep during breastfeeding do not show any sign of struggle. This in itself is one of the reasons while a mother needs to stay awake while breastfeeding a baby.
Why Do I Get Sleepy While Breastfeeding?
No, it is not your fault. We all know what you have to go through as a nursing mother – and your body will often tire out. Sadly, no matter how tired you may be, breastfeeding your baby is not a task you can leave until later. [Read: Signs Your Baby Is Overtired And Need to Be Put to Bed]
Exhaustion is one of the major reasons why you get sleepy while breastfeeding your baby. The period a nursing mother spends to nurse a baby is one of the few moments we actually get to rest, so it is easy to fall asleep.
Your hormones are another reason why you get sleepy while breastfeeding your young one. There is a hormone called Oxytocin present in women which aids the reproduction and production of milk from the breasts.
During breastfeeding, your body releases the oxytocin hormone to your brain, and this makes your system to relax – causing you to fall asleep.
Risk of Sleeping While Breastfeeding
Like we mentioned before in the article, sleeping while breastfeeding a bay can lead to numerous risks – including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
As you already know, infants are unable to struggle free when in discomfort. When a mother falls asleep while breastfeeding a baby, she risks overfeeding the baby or suffocating the baby.
During the process, her breasts may cover the baby’s mouth and nose, making it difficult for the baby to breathe.
How Do I Stop Falling Asleep While Breastfeeding?
If there is one aspect I love the most when creating content such as these, it is the solutions. I love solutions! So, let’s talk about how we can prevent ourselves from falling asleep while breastfeeding.
In trying not to fall asleep when breasting, the major ‘no-brainer’ is to try to balance our activities as a mother, so that we are not overly tired at the time of breastfeeding.
You should try to hire the services of a caregiver if you can afford one; or better still, have a close relative come over to assist you with some chores around the home from time to time. This way, you will not be overly tired at the time of breastfeeding.
While we have all these in mind, we cannot forget to admit that there are times when your baby will want to feed at odd times – when you were probably asleep or tired. In cases such as these, there are ways in which you can stay awake while breastfeeding.
Below, we have highlighted some tricks to keep you awake at all times while breastfeeding your baby to prevent you from falling asleep on the job! Lol! Let’s check them out.
7 Ways to Stay Awake while Breastfeeding your Baby
Have you ever wondered how you can fight the urge to sleep when breastfeeding your baby? Have you asked yourself countless times – How Do I Stop Falling Asleep While Breastfeeding? Here are 7 ways to stay awake while breastfeeding your baby.
1. Resist the Temptation to Get Comfortable
Every nursing mother loves to be comfortable when breastfeeding. GUILTY AS CHARGED! LOL! We are quick to look for the most comfortable sofa or take a good position on the bed when we want to breastfeed – resist it!
Always walk away out from your bedroom when it is time to breastfeed your baby and resist the temptation of being overly comfortable as you breastfeed your baby to reduce your chances of falling asleep.
2. Create Time for your Mobile Phone
I know we have all always said that you should pay little attention to your mobile phone as a nursing mother due to distractions. Well, this is the time you need that distraction.
While breastfeeding your baby, flip through your photo gallery to relive old memories. Hop onto your social media and catch up on all the updates you have missed. Trust me, there is no chance you will fall asleep while online.
3. The Television is Your Friend
Again, this is one thing that nursing mothers are strongly advised against. But this is the time you should consider checking what is in the news these days.
Scroll through different channels so that you do not get too caught up in your favorite soap opera. Remember that this is not the time to get carried away, so do not end up getting lost in your television show and forgetting to pay attention to your baby.
4. Snack or Drink Some Fluids
Naturally, nursing mothers are advised to drink a lot of water, especially when breastfeeding at night. Water or a snack will go a long way in keeping you awake while you are breastfeeding your baby.
The good thing about snacking or sipping from a glass of water is that it reduces your chances of sleeping and also gets your metabolism in check.
5. Play Engaging Games
There are loads of engaging games available on mobile which you can engage yourself in to prevent you from falling asleep.
While you are breastfeeding your baby, you can try your hands on a few games – even if you are not a game lover. Remember that the idea is to keep you awake, not to become a grand master in a video game.
6. Make Phone Calls to Friends and Family
This could be a great time to catch up on friends and family – and return the numerous calls you had missed while bathing your baby or changing a diaper.
You will also notice that conversations are more worthwhile when you have them while breastfeeding, rather than when you are tensed, trying to attend to a crying baby. It is fine if you chose henceforth to make breastfeeding time, your phone-call time. We forgive you!
7. Feeding Time is Examination Time
When breastfeeding your baby, you have the perfect time to examine your baby for any changes or concerns. While your baby is feeding gently, you should examine their nose, ears, eyes, etc.
You should also examine their palms, feet and private parts to know if they are reacting to something or have picked up an injury you are unaware of. You will experience little or no restrictions when carrying out this examination because your baby will be feeding peacefully.
[Read: When And How to Switch Baby Bottle Nipple Flow]
If you are still worried about falling asleep when breastfeeding your baby, perhaps you should try providing a home nursery or separate sleeping area for your baby.
This way, your baby will not sleep on the same bed or sofa as you – your system will naturally adapt to this arrangement. When it does, you will find it hard to fall asleep with your baby on the same sofa or bed.
Also, you should be careful so that you do not get too distracted and carried away with the activities you engage in while trying to keep yourself awake; thereby paying little or no attention to the baby you are breastfeeding.