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Sleeping with Babies while Breastfeeding – The Safe Sleep Seven from La Leche League International

A Mama- your sister, cousin, client, patient, or bff calls you, doggone tired after nursing her 2-month old baby every 2-3 hours during the last few nights. She confides in you that she has been cuddling with her baby in bed and falling asleep while nursing, rather than placing the baby back into the crib between feedings. What is safe advice for her?

Four spectacular authors, Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, Linda J Smith, and Teresa Pitman reviewed all available research and published a La Leche League International book in 2014 about sleeping and breastfeeding called Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family.

Research demonstrates that mothers are at risk of falling asleep in a chair or couch if they get up out of bed to feed their babies. Sleeping with babies on couches or chairs is associated with a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or suffocation, so staying in bed may be a safer option. According to the authors, 60-75% of new breastfeeding mothers bedshare to some extent, even if they didn’t plan to. And the good news is that bedsharing can be safe if a set of safe criteria are met, which the authors have named ‘The Safe Sleep Seven’.

What is the one piece of advice that you would NOT want to tell your Mama about safely breastfeeding and sleeping in her bed (ie which is not one of the Safe Sleep Seven)?

  1. The baby should be kept on his back
  2. The baby is healthy and full term
  3. Mother and partner are free from smoking, alcohol use and drug use.
  4. It is not safe to breastfeeding and sleep in the same bed until the baby is 4 months old
  5. Mother and baby are breastfeeding
  6. The baby is lightly dressed

For the answer, click here