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Sleep Med Rev. 2006 Dec;10(6):407-17. Epub 2006 Nov 16.

Co-sleeping, an ancient practice: issues of the past and present, and possibilities for the future.

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Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA.


Co-sleeping-infants sharing the mother's sleep space-has prevailed throughout human evolution, and continued over the centuries of western civilization despite controversy and blame of co-sleeping mothers for the deaths of their infants. By the past century, "crib death" was recognized, later identified as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and generally found to occur more frequently during bed sharing. Pediatricians warned parents of the dangers of SIDS and other risks of bed sharing, and the frequency of bed sharing decreased markedly over the years. However, during recent decades, bed sharing began to increase, though major issues were raised, including: whether bed sharing actually exacerbates or is protective against the occurrence of SIDS, whether the practice facilitates breast feeding, whether bed sharing is beneficial for an infant's development, and other concerns. Dissention may soon be diminished by use of a crib which opens at the mother's bed-side and is becoming a popular approach to mother-and-infant closeness through the night.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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