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Friday, December 4, 2009

"Why babies should never sleep alone:.."

Why babies should never sleep alone: A review
of the co-sleeping controversy in relation to SIDS,
bedsharing and breast feeding

James J. McKenna* and Thomas McDade
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, IN 46556, USA


There has been much controversy over whether infants should co-sleep or
bedshare with an adult caregiver and over whether such practises increase the risk of
SIDS or fatal accident. However, despite opposition from medical authorities or the
police, many western parents are increasingly adopting night-time infant caregiving
patterns that include some co-sleeping, especially by those mothers who choose to
breast feed. This review will show that the relationships between infant sleep patterns,
infant sleeping arrangements and development both in the short and long term, whether
having positive or negative outcomes, is anything but simple and the traditional habit of
labelling one sleeping arrangement as being superior to another without an awareness of
family, social and ethnic context is not only wrong but possibly harmful. We will show that
there are many good reasons to insist that the definitions of different types of co-sleeping
and bedsharing be recognised and distinguished. We will examine the conceptual issues
related to the biological functions of mother–infant co-sleeping, bedsharing and what
relationship each has to SIDS. At very least, we hope that the studies and data described
in this paper, which show that co-sleeping at least in the form of roomsharing especially
with an actively breast feeding mother saves lives, is a powerful reason why the simplistic,
scientifically inaccurate and misleading statement ‘never sleep with your baby’ needs to
be rescinded, wherever and whenever it is published."

HERE to read the entire PDF article