Why This Website?
Welcome. This website is intended to give scientifically –based information, provide downloadable scientific articles, access to educational powerpoint presentations and television appearances by Professor McKenna. Throughout these various outlets I explain the basis of the “cosleeping debate” and to answer FAQs as regards western infant sleep and feeding issues, with an emphasis on mother-infant cosleeping, breastfeeding, SIDS/SUDI risk factors, and prevention, all in relationship to sleeping arrangements including separate- surface-cosleeping and bedsharing.
My intention is to provide information that altogether can provide a basis for further clarifying the important role that mother-infant cosleeping and breastfeeding has played and continues to play in contemporary life, but also why it induces so much discord.
No doubt whether to sleep with your baby or not, and in what way, is highly controversial in western society, especially when ‘cosleeping’ occurs in bed with the parent (s). Safety issues continue to make the adoption of this sleeping arrangement more complex and tricky, and a decision that requires the mother to be breastfeeding, in my opinion, but also that specific conditions exist and deliberate precautions be taken in order to maximize safety. That information is also included here.
This website will have succeeded if it is of good use to parents, especially, who ultimately decide where their baby will sleep. Parents can make the best decisions when they are fully informed, I believe, and to do so they should be exposed to (and aware of) all of the issues and not just to the ones ‘external authorities’ deem sufficient. I firmly maintain that informed parents and not external authorities (medical or otherwise) are (and should be) in the best position to know exactly in what ways and why various forms of cosleeping will or will not work (and be safe) for them. This civil right belongs to parents, that is, the right to be in charge of their own infant or child care decisions and it needs to be protected as it is crucial both for our democracy and to promote confident, healthy and happy families.
In addition to helping parents make the best and most appropriate decision for themselves the information provided here should also be of use to educators, health professionals, public health officials, the media, sleep researchers, child protective services, coroners, forensic pathologists, anthropologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and other social scientists, as well as researchers in a variety the developmental fields including human biology.
On a practical note, and if possible, it might be useful to listen to my interview given shortly after the American Academy of Pediatrics released it’s paper in 2005 recommending against any and all bedsharing, one form of cosleeping. A variety of subjects are covered in that interview pertaining to infant sleep in general, the politics of that decision, as well as the relevant issues pertaining to whether or if and under what circumstances is it safe to sleep in bed with an infant, and if so, how to minimize risks.