Research based benefits of co-sleeping

James McKenna, PhD Infant Sleep Expert, shares information on the numerous benefits that co-sleeping has for both the baby and the parent based on human nature and biology.
Co-Sleeping Research Based Benefits
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Research based benefits of co-sleeping

It is especially important for the human infant to sleep closely to the mother and exchange these sensory signals. Of all the animals and all the primates, the human infant is the least neurologically mature at birth than any other primate. Indeed, it has only reached 25 -percent of its adult brain volume. It's own nervous system expects to engage to create a micro-environment that will buffer and protect this extremely vulnerable infant. Human infants are the most vulnerable, the most helpless. They are unable to talk, walk and they are really unable to communicate in terms of language. Their bodies are designed to engage with the mother in a similar way that the fetus engages with the mother during gestation. The only way we can get babies born that could survive in this way is to have a dependency unlike any other mammal or infant. By that I mean, the external regulation of the baby's body, by virtue of the presence of the mother. That is what buffers this extreme neurological immaturity that characterizes the human species.
BABY, Babies and Sleep, Co-Sleeping

James McKenna, PhD Infant Sleep Expert, shares information on the numerous benefits that co-sleeping has for both the baby and the parent based on human nature and biology.


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James McKenna, PhD

Anthropologist & Author

Professor James J. McKenna is recognized as the world’s leading authority on mother-infant co-sleeping, in relationship to breastfeeding and SIDS. In recognition of his work in 2009 he was admitted as a Fellow into the select body of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's most prestigious scientific society. That same year and in recognition of his extensive work with television, radio, and print media he received from the American Anthropological Association the “2008 Anthropology In The Media Award” one of the top three awards presented to anthropologists by the association in recognition of his distinguished work in educating the public to the importance of anthropological concepts. He received his undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1970, his Master's Degree from San Diego State University in 1972, and his PhD in biological anthropology from the University of Oregon, Eugene, in 1975. Professor McKenna has published over 139 refereed scientific articles in diverse medical and anthropological journals on co-sleeping, breastfeeding, evolutionary medicine and SIDS, and both here and abroad he gives over 20 lectures especially to pediatric groups and parents. Here in the United States he remains one of the primary spokesperson to the media on issues pertaining to sleeping arrangements, nighttime breast-feeding and SIDS prevention. He has also published two monographs on SIDS and infant sleep, and co-edited two books:  Evolutionary Medicine and Evolutionary Medicine And Health: New Perspectives. His first trade book for parents was published in 2008 entitled: Sleeping With Your Baby: A Parents Guide To Co-Sleeping, and was recently translated and available in Spanish and Dutch.

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