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healthykids


Sweet Slumber


Co-Sleeping in the Family Bed by Mark Sisson


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very young mammal on Earth sleeps in close contact with its mother and other family members. They’ve been co-sleeping for security, warmth, comfort and protection for millions of years of evolution. Although it is generally frowned upon in the United States, many human cultures, including most in East Asia, the Pacific islands, South America, Africa and much of southern Europe, have a rich tradition of co-sleeping. In At Home: A Short History of Private Life, Bill Bryson relates that until very recently, most domiciles centered around a central room, or hall, where everyone slept together. Even today, adults and children almost always sleep together in the same beds in non-industrialized, traditional societies worldwide.


The modern practice of placing babies in separate rooms at night, often to cry themselves to sleep, appears to be a historical aberration. Co-sleeping, conversely, is the age-old norm because it offers so many benefits to both parents and children.


Co-sleeping makes breastfeeding easier. Studies published by the Acta Paediatrica, the American Acad- emy of Pediatrics and the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics confirm a consistent link between co-sleeping and breastfeeding in countries as disparate as Brazil, Britain, Malaysia and Sweden. Breast milk provides immunological benefits, transfers symbiotic gut bacteria and promotes bonding between mother and child. It’s es-


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