Quality of sleep

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Quality of sleep

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There is no doubt that having a baby in bed, one doesn't sleep as well as one slept before having an infant. There is no doubt about that. However, that said, about 81 percent of women who breastfeed, who did not think they would ever bed share, end up bed sharing precisely because of the amount of rest they can get while breastfeeding. It is better if they are sleeping with their baby, if they are breastfeeders. The sleep itself will be different than if you were sleeping alone in a bed. For example, you'll spend more time in lighter sleep and will be much more susceptible to waking upon hearing the baby move or make sounds. It depends, as regards to the father, the extend to which he chooses to be sensitive to the baby. We can make decisions before we go to bed about whether or not we will respond to each other. Indeed, husbands and wives respond to each other all night long, whether they are aware of it or not. But they don't decide to wake up when their partner wakes up. Their bodies have been somewhat trained to move when the other partner moves. I guess what I am saying is, indeed, sleep is more fragmented when you sleep with your baby, rather than when you sleep alone. Keep in mind, that while the quality might be compromised just a little bit, you don't have to get up as much and you don't lose as much sleep trying to settle a baby back down that definitely doesn't want to be sleeping alone.

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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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