Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Research Perspective on Co-sleeping with your infant

Infants who share a bed with parents are more likely to have more frequent night wakings than infants who do not.66, 109-112 Co-sleeping is often linked with breastfeeding,141-143 therefore whether or not an infant is breastfeeding must be considered when evaluating infant sleep problems. 

Co-sleeping is controversial because of it may be a cause of dysregulated infant sleep and, in turn, heightened risk for later behavior problems in the U.S. and other Western countries.138-141, 144  In the U.S., current estimates show only a minority of parents co-sleeping with their infants (12-22%).145 Co-sleeping with infants is more likely to be “reactive” (i.e., in response to infant sleep difficulties). This links to the consequences of co-sleeping for infant sleep problems.  For instance, in cultures in which parent-infant co-sleeping is normative (e.g., Japan), it is not associated with infant sleep problems.140, 146, 147 Thus, the meaning and impact of co-sleeping seems to depend on whether that practice is culturally supported, and whether parents proactively choose to co-sleep.74, 136, 140, 148


66.   Morrell, J. and H. Steele, The role of attachment security, temperament, maternal perception, and care-giving behavior in persistent infant sleeping problems. Infant Mental Health Journal, 2003. 24(5): p. 447-468.

74.   Anders, T.F. and T.R. Taylor, Babies and their sleep environment. Children's Environments, 1994. 11: p. 123-134.
109. Lozoff, B., A.W. Wolf, and N.S. Davis, Cosleeping in urban families with young children in the united states. Pediatrics, 1984. 74: p. 171-182.
110. Madansky, D. and C. Edelbrock, Cosleeping in a community sample of 2- and 3-year-old children. Pediatrics, 1990. 86: p. 197-203.
111. Mao A, Burnham MM, Goodlin-Jones BL, Gaylor EE, Anders TF. A comparison of the sleep-wake patterns of cosleeping and solitary-sleeping infants. Child Psychiatry and Human Development 2004;35(2):95-105.
112. Pinilla, T. and L.L. Birch, Help me make it through the night: behavioral entrainment of breast-fed infants' sleep patterns. Pediatrics, 1993. 91: p. 436-444.
136. Ramos, K.D., D. Youngclarke, and J.E. Anderson, Parental perceptions of sleep problems among co-sleeping and solitary sleeping children. Infant and Child Development. Special Issue: Parent-infant co-sleeping, 2007. 16(4): p. 417-431.141. Ball, H.L., Breastfeeding, bed-sharing, and infant sleep. Birth, 2003. 30(3): p. 181-188.
138. Germo, G.R., et al., Child sleep arrangements and family life: Perspectives from mothers and fathers. Infant and Child Development. Special Issue: Parent-infant co-sleeping, 2007. 16(4): p. 433-456.
139. Goldberg, W.A. and M.A. Keller, Parent-infant co-sleeping: Why the interest and concern? Infant and Child Development. Special Issue: Parent-infant co-sleeping, 2007. 16(4): p. 331-339.
140. McKenna, J.J. and L.E. Volpe, Sleeping with baby: An Internet-based sampling of parental experiences, choices, perceptions, and interpretations in a Western industrialized context. Infant and Child Development. Special Issue: Parent-infant co-sleeping, 2007. 16(4): p. 359-385.
142. Blair, P.S. and H.L. Ball, The prevalence and characteristics associated with parent-infant bed-sharing in england. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 2004. 89(12): p. 1106-1110.
143. Elias, M.F., et al., Sleep/wake patterns of breast-fed infants in the first 2 years of life. Pediatrics, 1986. 77: p. 322-329.
145. McCoy, R.C., et al., Frequency of bed sharing and its relationship to breastfeeding. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 2004. 25(3): p. 141-149.
146. Kawasaki, C., et al., The cultural organization of infants' sleep. Children's environments, 1994. 11(2): p. 135-141.
147. Latz, S., A.W. Wolf, and B. Lozoff, Cosleeping in context: sleep practices and problems in in young children in japan and the united states. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 1999. 153(4): p. 339-346.
148. Morrell, J. and M. Cortina-Borja, The developmental change in strategies parents employ to settle young children to sleep, and their relationship to infant sleeping problems, as assessed by a new questionnaire: the parental interactive bedtime scale. Infant and Child Development, 2002. 11: p. 17-41.



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