Throughout history and across cultures, sleeping with your baby has been the norm, yet today the practice is fraught with questions, fear, and guilt. Parents are left exhausted, and those who cherish the closeness of cosleeping find themselves doubting their parental instincts.
In Safe Infant Sleep, a globally recognized cosleeping authority breaks down the complicated political and social aspects of sleep safety and counters common misconceptions with hard science. This book shares the latest scientific research on the benefits of cosleeping, offers guidelines for a variety of safe sleeping arrangements, and introduces “breastsleeping,” a bedsharing technique based on the fundamental biological connection between breastfeeding and infant sleep.
From bedsharing to roomsharing, and everything in between, Dr. James J. McKenna helps you determine how cosleeping can meet your family’s unique needs. Complete with resource lists for parents and professionals, this book educates, informs, reassures, and validates the most natural way for your baby to sleep––with you.
Coming soon in Spanish.
Safe Infant Sleep: Expert Answers to Your Cosleeping Questions
Product type Paperback (eBook available) Pages 288 ISBN
Publication date January 14, 2020
Dr. James J. McKenna directed the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame for 22 years, studying the physiology and behavior of cosleeping mothers and infants. He earned a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from the University of Oregon, Eugene, and is the leading authority on breastfeeding in relationship to SIDS and bedsharing safety.
“Dr. McKenna’s research proves what mothers the world over have known for centuries—that something beautiful happens to mothers and babies when they share sleep. He helps parents feel empowered to choose the right sleeping arrangement for their family. Safe Infant Sleep is must-read for every expectant and new parent, and belongs in the required reading library of every babycare advisor.”
—William Sears, M.D., pediatrician, health consultant seen on television programs including 20/20, Good Morning America, Oprah, Today, The View, and Dr. Phil, co-author of The Baby Book, The Breastfeeding Book, and The Attachment Parenting Book.
“This is the most important book you will ever buy or give as a gift to new parents.”
—Jay Gordon, M.D., I.B.C.L.C.., F.A.A.P. Pediatrician, Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics, author of Listening to Your Baby
“Dr. McKenna has earned a kind of credibility that is rare, even unheard of, in the world of parenting advice. He lays out all the evidence and then lets families decide what is best for them. Read this book and become informed, and then pick up your baby, crawl in bed with them, or not, and sleep safely.”
—Meredith F. Small, Ph.D., Professor Emerita at Cornell University, Visiting Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, author of What’s Love Got to Do With it? The Evolution of Human Mating, and Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent.
“An amazing book by the world’s leading expert on mother-infant sleep. It beautifully describes how infant sleep practices can contribute to your baby’s safety and development. This book is a must-read for every new parent!"
—Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Ph.D., I.B.C.L.C., F.A.P.A., co-author of Breastfeeding Made Simple and The Science of Mother-Infant Sleep
“This is a very detailed and comprehensive narrative about everything to do with cosleeping, through the unique lens of a dedicated academic who has devoted most of his professional career to this topic. Parents who are keen to understand the historical controversies around cosleeping, and to know more about how SIDS epidemiology and sleep science are conducted, will find much to think about here.”
—Helen Ball, Ph.D., M.A., B.Sc., Professor of Anthropology, Durham University, Director of the Durham Infancy & Sleep Centre, Co-Director of the Baby Sleep Information Source
"Once you have read James McKenna’s satisfying and intuitive book, you will finally get a good night’s sleep: He will free you of worrying about ‘creating bad sleep habits’ and help you stop feeling unsure about breastfeeding your baby to sleep."
—Jack Newman, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., I.B.C.L.C., and Andrea Polokova, M.A., M.Ed., co-authors of Breastfeeding: Empowering Parents
"Dr. McKenna seamlessly integrates his own scientific research and that of others with history, anthropological concepts, and maternal instinct, while demonstrating how the Western cultural bias of independent sleep actually increases the risk of SIDS and poor long-term adjustment."
—Nancy E. Wight, M.D., I.B.C.L.C., F.A.B.M., F.A.A.P., Neonatologist, Medical Director for Sharp HealthCare Lactation Services
"Cosleeping is not for everyone, but Dr. McKenna has brought it into focus as a good choice for many parents, and has rightly questioned official attempts to suppress it based on rare and avoidable events. In this easy-to-read, thoroughly informed book, parents will find what they need to know to cosleep safely. An important contribution to the literature on baby care, and especially to the attachment parenting movement."
—Melvin Konner, M.D., Ph.D., Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology and of Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology, Emory University, author of The Evolution of Childhood
"A detailed explanation of what cosleeping is, what it implies for the health of mother and baby, and how to practice it safely. An indispensable reading for all parents who want to decide in a conscious and well-informed way where and how their baby should sleep."
—María Berrozpe Martínez, Ph.D., author of ¡Dulces Sueños! (Sweet Sleep!), co-author of Una Nueva Maternidad (A New Motherhood), instructor for La Leche League International
"As the father of four sons and as a practicing pediatrician, developmental physiologist, and epidemiologist, I can strongly support the ideas presented by Dr. McKenna in this debunking of much of the arrogant, ill-informed, and misleading advice that has in the past been given to parents by professionals who should have known better. I wholeheartedly commend this book to parents and to healthcare professionals."
—Peter J. Fleming, C.B.E., F.R.S.A., Ph.D., M.B.Ch.B., F.R.C.P. (Canada, London), F.R.C.P.C.H., Professor of Infant Health and Developmental Physiology, Consultant Paediatrician, Centre for Academic Child Health, Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol
“To cosleep or not to cosleep? That‘s the question vexing so many new parents. From over 20 years of groundbreaking research in his Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab, biological anthropologist James McKenna knows more than anyone about the risks and benefits of cosleeping. If you’re looking for a sound, scientific basis for deciding about whether, when, where, how, and why to cosleep safely with your baby, look no farther—this book will tell you all you need to know.”
—Alma Gottlieb, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, co-author of A World of Babies: Imagined Childcare Guides for Eight Societies
"With overwhelming evidence and unparalleled heart, the brilliant Professor McKenna shreds the conventional misguidance to reclaim the mammal universal of safe cosleeping for better health and well-being of mothers and babies."
—Katie Hinde, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Center for Evolution and Medicine, Arizona State University
"Dr. McKenna is the world's leading expert on cosleeping, its evolutionary story, and its importance to parents. In his new book, he shares that knowledge with parents in our society. I strongly recommend it to new parents."
—Robert A. LeVine, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Education and Human Development, Harvard University
"This book is a greatly-needed resource that provides evidence for families to make educated decisions when trying to balance their instincts about breastsleeping and bedsharing with the advice given to them by American society."
—Anne Eglash, M.D., I.B.C.L.C., F.A.B.M., Director of Lactation Services, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Founder and President of The Institute for the Advancement of Breastfeeding and Lactation Education (IABLE)
“Brilliant! Dr. McKenna, a research scientist who has spent much of his academic career studying bedsharing and its relationship to maternal and child health, has provided us with a vital resource to all who care about infants, parenting issues, public health issues—both mental and physical—and our society in general. I recommend this book to the breastfeeding world and the world at large."
—Chele Marmet, B.S., M.A., F.I.L.C.A., pioneer of the lactation consultant profession
"Dr. McKenna presents the benefits and risks of shared sleeping with babies and proposes strategies to create safer shared sleeping environments that support a risk minimization approach, which is evidence-based and practical for families to tailor to their individual needs and circumstances."
—Jeanine Young, F.A.C.N., Ph.D., R.G.N., Registered Midwife, Professor, University of the Sunshine Coast, Member of the Red Nose National Scientific Advisory Group
"Professor McKenna is not afraid to take a stand on this controversial issue, presenting the view that bedsharing in the absence of hazardous circumstances can bring many benefits to infants and families; that it is the way infants sleep, not where they sleep, that is important. The review of the subject is likely of benefit to anyone considering bedsharing."
—Sally Baddock, B.Sc., Dip. Tchng., Ph.D., Professor and Researcher, School of Midwifery, Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand
"So far as behaviors go, mother-infant cosleeping is one of the few primate universals. The main exceptions are found in a relatively small subset of human primates, among Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic societies, sometimes referred to as WEIRD. In this comprehensive, humane, very clear and also brave book, James McKenna strives to renormalize our segment of humanity."
—Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, author of Mother Nature and Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding
"In this book, Professor McKenna distills his decades of anthropological work on normal human infant sleep into an accessible form. His clear explanations on the importance of nighttime closeness and 'breastsleeping' in human evolution and culture, paired with practical guidance, are sure to empower and support families."
—Cecilia Tomori, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Durham University, Durham Infancy & Sleep Centre (DISC)