Why the media portrays bed sharing as dangerous

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Why the media portrays bed sharing as dangerous

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Sudden Infant Disease Syndrome refers to a disease that was just defined formally by the medical establishment in 1969. It basically refers to a seemingly otherwise healthy baby that goes to bed healthy and happy and dies during the night. Upon postmortem analysis and study, there is absolutely nothing that can explain why that baby died. It's a diagnosis by exclusion, meaning "death by nothing." When we say S.I.D.S., it means that we are saying we really have no idea how this baby died. It seems to be more of a characteristic of babies in western industrialized cultures because most societies around the world do not know this entity at all, this healthy baby that doesn't wake up. The only other characteristic that is important to mention is that it's probably one of the most age circumscribed syndromes that's known. 90 percent of babies who die from this are between the ages of eight weeks and fourteen weeks of age.

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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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