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Moms and Babies Belong Together

Written by Dr. James J. McKenna   
Wednesday, 01 September 2004 00:00

Our scientific studies of mother and infants sleeping together have shown how tightly bound together the physiological and social aspects of the mother-infant relationship really are. Other studies have shown that separation of the mother and infant has adverse consequences. Anthropological considerations also suggest that separation between the mother and infant should be minimal. Western societies must consider carefully how far and under what circumstances they want to push infants away from the loving and protective co-sleeping environment. Infants’ nutritional, emotional and social needs as well as maternal responses to them have evolved in this environment for millennia.

About the Author:

Dr. James J. McKenna is a Professor of Anthropology and the Director of the Center for Behavioral Studies of Mother-Infant Sleep, Notre Dame University.

Pathways Issue 3 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #03.

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