The Secrets of the Co-sleeper

January 8, 2008

The Secrets of the Co-sleeperJapanese babies sleep between their parents. Their position symbolizes a river between two banks.

This picturesque view of co-sleeping reveals the intimacy between parents and their offspring and how co-sleeping creates a family unit. In contrast, modern Western societies emphasize the need for independence and individuality. As such, we are used to putting the baby to sleep in his own bed, in his own room. Even if we are told by the health visitors that it is much better to keep a baby nearby, in your own room in a separate bed, we are eager to find “excuses” such as “He is so noisy at night”, “I have no privacy” etc. in order to place him back into his own cot bed in a different room.

Sleeping in a single bed, away from the parents and/or siblings is a modern phenomenon, no older than 200 years. For thousands of years prior we co-sleept with our parents, our siblings and family. The modern ways of living are ruled by individuality and independence which in turn create a society of increased anti social behaviour and loneliness loneliness.

Anthropologist James McKenna conducted research in order to find out the truth about co-sleepers. He found that when a baby sleeps with his mother the pattern of brain wave activity, heart rate, muscle movement and breathing are astonishingly similar in both. During the sleep mother and baby exhibit a deep bond. Their experience of sleep is mutual as they share the same sleep pattern. In fact, it has been suggested that sleeping close to the mother helps the baby “learn” how to sleep safely explaining why the sleep pattern of both are so in sync.

Unfortunately, today’s perception of sleeping with the parents is understood to create an emotional dependence which is regarded as a negative trait within the human development…

2 Responses to “The Secrets of the Co-sleeper”

  1. morethananelectrician Says:

    I have performed renovations on homes in Germany that were built in the 1500’s. These homes, when their interior walls were opened, had distinct walls that were originial to the home that would indicate that these were actually bedrooms.

    I could think of no other use for these additional rooms other than to have distinct sleeping rooms. It may be possible that these homes actually housed multiple families, but on the surface, this eye-witnessed experience seems to contradict this theory.

  2. JenK Says:

    Before my daughter was born, I was adamantly against co-sleeping. I thought it was unsafe and encouraged spoiling, that it would make it all the more difficult to put the baby in her own room when she was old enough (which, in my mind, was a few months). Once she was born, though, she just wouldn’t sleep unless she was next to someone, and I was desperate for sleep, so we started co-sleeping. Now, ten months later, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. She rarely cries at night, she NEVER wakes up enough to open her eyes until morning, everyone is getting plenty of sleep, and she wakes up happy. I feel better having her close by, and it’s also been a huge help to our nursing relationship. We’re expecting baby #2 in January, at which time our daughter will be moved to sleep by daddy, and the new baby will sleep by me. I couldn’t imagine parenting any other way!

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