It can be, which is why you should try some tricks to stay awake for those long (and frequent) middle-of-the-night feeds!
It’s normal for babies — especially newborns — to nurse multiple times a night. During those first few weeks or periods of growth spurts, it can sometimes feel like a feeding marathon for mom. With such little and fragmented sleep, it’s perfectly normal to feel drowsy and "out of it" during a breastfeeding session. However, falling asleep with your baby at the breast can be dangerous. If you are nursing on a couch or recliner, your baby can slip down into the cushions and have trouble breathing. This absolutely puts your baby at risk for suffocation, which can have tragic results. If nursing in bed, you can accidentally smother your baby with pillows, blankets, or your body. Lastly, if you are nursing in a rocking chair for example and fall asleep, your baby can move and possibly fall out of your arms.
The best way to avoid this is to do something to keep you awake while you feed your baby, whether you keep your phone handy, eat a snack, or keep the TV or a night light on. We’ve all had those moments of realizing we’ve fallen asleep without meaning to, so don’t feel guilty if this has happened to you — but do try to avoid it in the future with whatever method you finds helps you keep your eyelids from getting heavy!
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, March 2020