As most new parents know, the first few months of a new baby's life can be a bit of a blur. Between constantly waking to feed the baby, change the baby, rock the baby, and so on, it is nearly impossible to get a good nights sleep. (Unless you hire one of our postpartum doulas!)
You hear the baby cry and walk zombie-like down the hallway to reach the baby so you can tend to their needs. Often times you find yourself feeding the baby in the rocking chair or on the couch hoping they easily go back to sleep. It's 2:00 am and you have had like 26 minutes worth of actual sleep. This means that sometimes you accidentally fall asleep sitting there.
It is not uncommon for a parent to accidentally fall asleep with their baby. This can be dangerous and can contribute to sleep related deaths.
According to the AAP, the safest place for a baby to sleep is in their own seperate space (such as a bassinet, crib or pack and play), in their parents room for the first year of their life (or at least the first 6 months). This can decrease the risk of sleep related deaths by as much as 50%!
(When putting a baby to sleep, remember the safest thing for them is to be alone, without any pillows, bumper pads or blankets and for them to not be swaddled once they can roll over.)
The AAP is now recognizing that a number of sleep related deaths come from parents that are too tired and accidentally fall asleep holding their babies.
If you feel like you are going to fall asleep with your baby, remember it is safer to prepare a safe sleeping space on your bed and feed the baby there. Feeding the baby on the couch or a chair increases the risk of injury to the baby if you accidentally fall asleep.
The AAP also states that there is evidence that supervised tummy time, breastfeeding, and pacifer use can help decrease the risk of SIDS and other sleep related deaths.