Is it safe to sleep while breastfeeding?

  • PublishedMay 9, 2019

Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful things that a mother can experience. It not only ensures your baby is healthy, but provides an opportunity to bond with your bundle of joy at deeper levels. As a mother, the need to give your baby all the nutrients they require may be a little overwhelming. Talk of sleepless nights, long days, backaches… its all tiring! You may be tempted to breastfeed your baby when you are tired but experts warn against this.


Falling asleep when breastfeeding can lead to suffocation due to obstruction of your baby’s airways while they blissfully lie against your bosom.The baby normally does not have the strength to pull away from the mother’s breast when she falls asleep hence can be suffocated.

“When a mother falls asleep while breastfeeding, the breast could press on the baby’s nose, preventing them from breathing leading to suffocation. It is like when someone presses a pillow against your face forcefully, it leads to suffocation, the same way for the breast to the baby,” said Jane Ochieng, a nurse at Aga Khan hospital.


Breastfeeding while asleep can also lead to the baby choking on the breastmilk. This is because when sleeping,  the mother may not be able to control the amount of milk flowing hence unable to pull away when the baby has had enough.

“There is a way the mother should hold her baby and breast in order to prevent an overflow of milk, ” she said. ” If she falls asleep then she cannot control it hence the baby will choke on milk because they will not be able to pull away.”

To avoid sleeping when breastfeeding, a mother can opt to breastfeed while standing, pacing around the room, watching some television, reading a book or even binging on social media! Anything that keeps those tired sleepy eyes awake is necessary.

Written By