Cosleeping and Biological Imperatives: Why Human Babies Do Not and Should Not Sleep Alone

I can remember being a child, wishing I could sleep with my parents…they always “shooed” me out – thinking it was best for me. I always felt a profound sense of rejection and loneliness. Because of this, I have slept with my kids until they were ready for their own beds, and it’s turned out to be one of the greatest times of sharing that we’ve had together. Please read this post, full of great information on co-sleeping and why its so very important to human development.

Neuroanthropology

mother-and-childBy James J. McKenna Ph.D.
Edmund P. Joyce C.S.C. Chair in Anthropology
Director, Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory
University of Notre Dame
Author of Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Cosleeping

Where a baby sleeps is not as simple as current medical discourse and recommendations against cosleeping in some western societies want it to be. And there is good reason why. I write here to explain why the pediatric recommendations on forms of cosleeping such as bedsharing will and should remain mixed. I will also address why the majority of new parents practice intermittent bedsharing despite governmental and medical warnings against it.

Definitions are important here. The term cosleeping refers to any situation in which a committed adult caregiver, usually the mother, sleeps within close enough proximity to her infant so that each, the mother and infant, can respond to each other’s sensory signals and cues. Room sharing is…

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