Can I co-sleep if I have twins or multiples?

James McKenna, PhD Anthropologist & Author, discusses co-sleeping with twins or multiples, and shares advice for parents of multiples on the most effective sleeping arrangements
Parenting Multiples | Can I Co-Sleep With Twins Or Multiples
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Can I co-sleep if I have twins or multiples?

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I've learned from mothers themselves that it seems to be very difficult and it may not be particularly safe to have twins in the same bed at the same time. Mothers generally prefer to have the babies if not in the same crib at least in two cribs adjacent to each other. What I have found through the years is by virtue of Dr. Helen Ball's research is that they babies, when they're close together, tend to synchronize their sleep and breastfeeding activities, which makes it much easier for mother. But I can add one little bit of caution. Through the years, I've learned that it isn't unusual, particularly for mothers of twins, to come into the room to find one twin very happily breastfeeding on the nose of the other. And so this leads these moms to delightfully tell me that I might suggest that in arranging twins, if they're sleeping in the same crib to actually put them head to head or to have them put head to foot, so that they are in opposite directions; they're close but they're not able to, let's say, breastfeed on each others' appendages.

James McKenna, PhD Anthropologist & Author, discusses co-sleeping with twins or multiples, and shares advice for parents of multiples on the most effective sleeping arrangements

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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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