If you are an avid Instagram user, you might have come across the following sweet picture: New baby napping soundly on dad’s naked chest.
Often, at least as it appears in the snaps, the father in questions is also fast asleep, making the image look as if you are capturing a moment of total parental bliss.
But while these gorgeous images might make you coo with broodiness, experts are now keen to warn new parents that falling asleep with a baby on you is not actually such a great idea after all.
According to Red Nose, an Australian charity who works to reduce the number of children dying suddenly and unexpectedly during pregnancy, infancy or in childhood, there is a “very high risk of harm to a baby when they share a sofa with an adult during sleep.”
And the important thing to remember, is that while most of us don’t always sit down with the intention of falling asleep while holding the baby, the reality is that it is all too easy to picture how this could happen to many a sleep-deprived mum and dad.
According to Essentialbaby.com, unintentionally drifting off with a baby is known as “accidental co-sleeping” or “reactive co-sleeping,” and is extremely common, with a whopping 60 percent of families admitting to doing just his “in some way or another” in the first six months of a babies life.
The problem? Nodding off with your baby on your chest, you are putting it at risk of falling off, suffocating or getting trapped – any of which can be very harmful or even deadly.
Many will argue that this is the only known way they can manage to soothe their babies, and experts from Red Nose are keen to stress that letting baby rest on their parent’s chest is an “excellent strategy” for settling an infant, – however; this is only the case if the baby is being observed.
Alternatively, the experts argue, you could always set up a mattress or blanket on the floor and put yourself next to your baby to calm him down – with all of you safely on the floor.
As well as this, they also recommend you have some company if you are trying to settle your baby while feeling a little tired yourself, either by having someone there with you in person, or at least over the phone.