Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent's Guide to Cosleeping Paperback – January 1, 2007
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From the Publisher
We coslept with our next four infants - one at a time - until weaning. As a young pediatrician with no medical training in where babies should sleep I was fascinated by the restful synchrony that I saw between the nursing pair. Martha would partially awaken just before Hayden would. Martha would nurse or comfort her back to sleep and neither member of the nursing pair completely awakened. Wow! Something good is happening here, I thought. If only I could wire up mother and baby and scientifically prove that something healthful is going on between them when they share a bed, then I could quiet the separate sleeping crowd who warned us of the "bad habit," saying "she'll never get out of your bed," and the unwarranted fears of terminal dependency. The prevailing nighttime mindset of the time was fostering selfsoothing and early independence.
Then, in 1981, I met Dr. McKenna whose interest and passion was to scientifically study mothers and babies in various sleeping arrangements and to document the physiological differences between cosleepers and separate sleepers. I still remember at our lunch meeting saying, "Jim, I'm going to follow your studies very carefully, since I'm certain a lot of good things occur while mother and baby sleep close to each other, I just can't prove it." My medical motto has always been "show me the science." Childrearing is too valuable to be left to opinions alone. Besides, I was then dubbed, "The daring doctor who recommends mothers sleep with their babies."
Twenty-five years and many scientific articles later, Dr. McKenna has proved what intuitive parents have long suspected: something healthful happens to mother and baby when they cosleep. In this book, Dr. McKenna shows us the science. Readers can trust that Dr. McKenna's sleep laboratory monitoring sleep-sharing pairs, and he relates his observations in easy-to-read language and captivating conclusions.
In nighttime parenting our eight children, we learned a valuable lesson in deciding where babies should sleep: get behind the eyes of your baby and ask yourself, "If I were my baby, where would I want to sleep?" Would your baby want to sleep alone in a separate room, behind bars, with a high risk of experiencing nighttime anxiety, or would your baby rather be nestled next to their favorite person in the whole wide world and enjoy nighttime restfulness?
In this book you will find trusted advice from the world's authority on sleeping with your baby.
-William Sears, M.D.
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Top international reviews
It is very refreshing read in an environment where everyone says "Never cosleep. Period" while human species did this for centuries and in many cultures still do. This book is more relevant for breastfeeding mothers rather than bottle feeding (the author gives advice to bottle feeding couples too, but i found that a lot of his writing can be guilt inducing for bottle feeding mums).
I gave the book four stars because It focuses predominantly on babies needs and while parents' needs are mentioned (mothers report better sleep when cosleeping, reduced risk of breast cancer when breastfeeding, etc) i would like to see more evidence (or at least testimonials) on how cosleeping impacts parents.
It does have some practical advice but all of it was fairly obvious. It does support people's decision to co-sleep, but I was looking for more peace of mind and some evidence which would allow me to safely and contently co-sleep which might overcome all of the advice I get from people saying don't do it.
This book is an attempt to guide (American) parents, back to a normal and natural way of raising children - focussing on how to sleep with them in the same room/bed. This effort deserves praise. Apparently, parents nearly get jailed for doing so.
It has some good tips, ideas and sensible theories about sleeping and co-sleeping, and doing so safely.
However, read it with a grain of salt, as it is very clearly written for the United States market, where poor Dr. McKenna has to defend his ideas and research against obnoxious, self-proclaimed experts and against an overbearing, industry, intransparent controlled government. Not even Dr. McKenna can impart with the entire truth, as even he is dependent of the good will of the pharmaceutical and medical industry.
If you have the good sense and decide to co-sleep with your child, be prepared to be shunned as dangerous parents.
Definitely worth reading, but don't stop at this.