Warning: distressing content
A devastated mother from Indianapolis has shared the tragic details of her little son’s death to alert other mums to the dangers of breastfeeding while tired.
Taking to Facebook on June 5, Kristin Hoffmann posted a photograph of her seven-week old John Thomas Michael Abernathy, who sadly passed away.
“My precious son slipped off my breast and into the covers of my bed early Sunday morning and into heaven,” Kristin wrote in the post. “The way we discovered him was a tragedy I don't want to hear happens to anyone else.”
The mother encouraged other women to stay awake and upright while feeding.
“No matter how tired you are as a mother, GET UP AND GO TO A CHAIR or somewhere you won’t fall asleep when you feed your child at night,” she pleaded.
She said she shared the post in the hope of educating other mums about the risks of breastfeeding when tired.
“It greatly pains me and shames me that this happened but I have to ask you all to please share and spread the word,” she said.
Kristin ended her heart-wrenching post with the birth date of her son and the message: “Revived to be baptized in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Little John was revived but because he had been deprived of oxygen for so long, he did not survive, Hello Magazine reports.
Kristin told marie claire that she was grateful the story had reached other mothers.
"I pray for these women and their families that they can find comfort in each other and always build each other up," she said.
"Our little ones are home safe hoping that we make it to them someday too."
Although bed sharing is a common practice in Australia, SIDS and Kids Australia recommend that babies should sleep in their own safe sleeping environment next to a parent’s bed for the first 6–12 months of life to help prevent infant deaths.
UNICEF’s guide Caring for Your Baby at Night makes some helpful suggestions if you decide to share a bed with your baby.
"Some parents choose to sleep with their baby in bed and some fall asleep with their baby during the night while feeding and comforting whether they intend to or not," the guide states.
It is important to consider the following points:
■ Keep your baby away from the pillows.
■ Make sure your baby cannot fall out of bed or become trapped between the mattress and wall.
■ Make sure the bedclothes cannot cover your baby’s face or head.
■ Don’t leave your baby alone in the bed, as even very young babies can wriggle into a dangerous position.
You can read more about safe breastfeeding practices here.