When our daughter was born, co-sleeping came naturally to us. I had just had a c-section and needed her close to me. As she got older, she moved on to her own sleep space. My son is 13 months old and still very much enjoys sleeping curled up beside me. There is truly no better feeling than waking up with a warm baby snuggled close against you.
I firmly believe that co-sleeping, when done properly, is safer than crib sleeping. I cannot fathom how mothers are intimately connected to their babies for 40 weeks, only to expect complete separation at birth. Co-sleeping is how babies are designed to sleep!
By 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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