Like many other tired moms, Kristin Hoffman didn’t know about the dangers of feeding her baby while in bed.
According to Kidspot, Hoffman was exhausted when she brought her son to bed to breastfeed him. As she surrendered to sleep, she didn’t notice that 7-week-old John was in distress. As she wrote on Facebook:
My precious son slipped off my breast and into the covers of my bed early Sunday morning and into heaven. The way we discovered him was a tragedy; I don’t want [it to] happen [to] anyone else.
That night, Hoffman’s son suffocated in her bed. She told Dearly that his loss has been devastating to her family and caused a terrible “ripple effect” in her life.
Sharing her story brought Hoffman both pain and shame, but she wanted to warn other moms of the danger of feeding their baby while half-asleep in bed. She wrote:
No matter how tired you are as a mother, GET UP AND GO TO A CHAIR or somewhere you wont fall asleep when you feed your child at night.
Hoffman stressed that she wants moms to understand the danger of falling asleep while feeding. Her post was intended to warn them to move around and wake themselves up long enough to feed the baby and put him or her safely in a crib.
She told Dearly that too few parents are told about the dangers of bringing your baby into bed with you:
“When John was first born, no one stressed the fact that he could suffocate if I fell asleep with him. It needs to be brought to light throughout the pregnancy and when he’s born.”
In Hoffman’s case, not only did she not learn about the hazards of co-sleeping while she was pregnant; her doctor didn’t schedule any prenatal care visits after the fourth month.
That lack of information meant that no one reviewed the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revised safe sleep recommendations with the new mom. The AAP discourages bed-sharing with infants and advises keeping any soft items (like blankets and pillows) away from the baby’s sleep area.
When it comes to feeding a baby in bed, the AAP stresses that moms should put the baby back in his or her crib before going to sleep. If there’s a chance that the mom might fall asleep while feeding, make sure there are no sheets, pillows, blankets, toys (or anything else that could cover the baby’s head, face or neck) nearby.
After going through such a terrible loss, Hoffman goes beyond the AAP recommendation. Based on her own experience, she suggests moms find a chair that will help them stay awake until they’re finished with the feeding.
Hoffman told Dearly her former partner blames her for John’s death, but her faith has kept her going. Now, she wants to prevent other parents from going through the same pain.
As she told Dearly:
“I hope my story can save lives. I cry so much about my son. It’s torn our family apart.”