When will my baby sleep through the night?

James McKenna, PhD, shares advice for parents on when babies will begin sleeping through the night and the factors that affect them from beginning to do so
When Do Babies Sleep Through the Night
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When will my baby sleep through the night?

It's best to not to have any expectations whatsoever about when your child when your child will sleep through the night. All of us have what's called "sleep personalities." It's totally impossible to predict the particular psychological, developmental, and physiological needs of children. In so far as that is true, you can only be disappointed, at times, when having some set time that this is going to happen because babies feeding needs are different. Don't forget, we are really talking about metabolic questions here and growth questions here; not so much psychological or developmental issues. It's usually presented in terms of that, however. That is, it's good for babies to psychologically sleep through the night, to demonstrate the individuality and their autonomy, to be alone and regulate their own body. Again, this is a social imposition. These are value judgments, being confused about what's in the best interests of the biology of the baby. These decisions about when babies sleep through the night have nothing to do with the babies; and everything to do with very recent, arbitrary cultural notions about what's good for babies. What should be good for babies, but are definitely not imperically demonstrated.

James McKenna, PhD, shares advice for parents on when babies will begin sleeping through the night and the factors that affect them from beginning to do so


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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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