Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

Safe Sleep

on July 28, 2014


Here’s what our babies have always “expected” at night:

  • ATTENTIVE, SOBER ADULTS: Even in your sleep, you normally know where your baby is just as you know where your bed edge is. Alcohol and certain medications alter awareness during sleep and increase the risk of suffocation.
  • CLEAN AIR: A smoking parent greatly increases the risk of SIDS. (Smoking during pregnancy increases risk even more.)
  • BACK SLEEPING: Stomach sleeping on a flat, horizontal surface increases the risk of suffocation and SIDS unless the surface is a parent’s chest.
  • A GAP-FREE SURFACE: And reasonable airspace, to avoid suffocation risk.
  • BREASTFEEDING: Bottle-feeding behaviors increase suffocation risk. Breastfeeding to sleep is normal and healthy.
  • HUMAN MILK: Formula-fed babies are more than twice as likely to die of SIDS. Suffocation and other risks rise with formula-feeding as well.
  • FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT: A swaddled baby can’t protect his airway, change his position, reach his mother, suck on his hands, or regulate his temperature, sleep state, or appetite normally. Swaddling increases the risk of both SIDS and suffocation.
  • AN ADULT WITHIN REACH: When they’re alone, babies’ temperature and breathing are less stable, and they have less practice in rousing – important practice! They also have more periods of apnea (no breathing) – all risk factors for SIDS.
  • A COMFORTABLE TEMPERATURE: overheating increases the risk of SIDS.
  • FREE ACCESS TO SUCKLING AT BREAST: There’s no evidence that a sleeptime pacifier helps protect a bedsharing breastfed baby.



Excerpted from Safe Sleep for Breastfeeding Babies. La Leche League International. Information Sheet No. 10343. October 2010.  LLLI’s reference list is available here.


Adapted from LLLC Keeping in the Loop Spring 2013

By Sandra Yates,  La Leche League Canada Area Professional Liaison Leader


Sweet Sleep1cropNOW AVAILABLE:  Sweet Sleep : Nighttime And Naptime Strategies For The Breastfeeding Family  by La Leche League International   Diane Wiessinger , Diana West, Linda J. Smith, Teresa Pitman.  512 pages, available via  Chapters Indigo link.



If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader.  In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking or Internationally






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