Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent's Guide to Cosleeping Paperback – 1 Apr 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is divided into two parts - a discussion of the evidence, which is great for those parents who understand that nothing in baby rearing is black and white and who have the confidence to make their own decisions. The second part is for those parents who are feeling understandably anxious and may be at that stage in parenting where they just want someone to tell them what to do. A whole variety of situations which are not generally addressed are covered with a list of Do's and Don'ts.
It is not the polemic that some other books are - I shared my bed with my babies and feel it was right for me and many others but find several of them dislikeable.
Finally, it is a slim volume which makes it very accessible to the very people who need it most!
It is very refreshing read in an environment where everyone says "Never cosleep. Period" while human species did this for centuries and in many cultures still do. This book is more relevant for breastfeeding mothers rather than bottle feeding (the author gives advice to bottle feeding couples too, but i found that a lot of his writing can be guilt inducing for bottle feeding mums).
I gave the book four stars because It focuses predominantly on babies needs and while parents' needs are mentioned (mothers report better sleep when cosleeping, reduced risk of breast cancer when breastfeeding, etc) i would like to see more evidence (or at least testimonials) on how cosleeping impacts parents.
It does have some practical advice but all of it was fairly obvious. It does support people's decision to co-sleep, but I was looking for more peace of mind and some evidence which would allow me to safely and contently co-sleep which might overcome all of the advice I get from people saying don't do it.
People should be free to make their own decisions about how their family arranges their sleep but these decisions should be informed and based on unbiased and accessible reads like this one. Read this before your baby arrives!!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Back when I was writing my own sleep book a year ago -- Sleep Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler and Preschooler: The Ultimate No-Worry Approach for Each Age and Stage (Mother of All Solutions) -- I noted that what co-sleeping parents really needed was some sort of guide to safe -- or safer -- co-sleeping: a book that summarized all the best evidence on safe sleeping (as applied to various co-sleeping arrangments) and presented this information in a clear and practical way. In writing Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent's Guide to Cosleeping, McKenna has written just such a book.
Providing photos that clearly illustrate the dangers of entrapment and that caution parents against other situations that would make bedsharing a poor choice (e.g., if one or both parents is significantly obese, if the parents smoke or if the mother smoked during pregnancy, if one or both parents have consumed alcohol, if the sleeping surface is not suitable for bedsharing, if pets or older children share the bed, etc.), McKenna clearly maps out the do's and don'ts of cosleeping. He also explains that there's a difference between bedsharing (sharing a bed) and cosleeping (sleeping with your baby in close proximity to you). He stresses that it's important to specify the nature of the cosleeping arrangement when we're talking about cosleeping so that we don't muddy the waters further on this already controversial issue. "There is no one right way to cosleep, nor does cosleeping occur in one correct configuration. While some ways of cosleeping are safer than other ways, some are not safe at all," he notes.
Common myths about cosleeping are also addressed (e.g., cosleeping always means bedsharing, you won't sleep well if you're cosleeping, forget about romance if you're cosleeping, that baby will never leave your bed if you're cosleeping).
Appendices provide details about other helpful products that may be of interest to parents who choose to cosleep. There are also exhaustive references, for anyone who wishes to do further research into cosleeping.
Another noteworthy feature is the book's introduction -- written by Meredith Small, author of Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent. Small writes: "The accepted norm in Western culture is singular sleep for babies; this is what the pediatricians recommend and what the grandparents expect. And so cosleeping has become a revolutionary act. But parents who choose to cosleep with their babies don't feel like revolutionaries, they just want to stay close to their babies. Thank goodness we have Jim to reassure cosleeping families that their choice is normal and natural, no matter what the culture says."
The book is easy to read and it is respectful of parents every step of the way. If you're thinking of cosleeping -- or if you suspect that you could end up carring your baby back to bed on occasion in a desperate quest for sleep, even if your baby will be sleeping someplace else most of the time -- you should read this book.
Three years ago I read everything I could get my hands on by Dr. McKenna. His website and various articles and letters gave me alot of confidence that what I was doing was perfectly normal and natural (I was only making the mistake of telling everyone what I was doing Ha!)
I am very happy that he has put this book out. Co-sleeping when done with forethought to the safety of the environment, and done by a healthy, sober, rational mother is very safe. It also helps the breastfeeding mother rest and continue the breastfeeding relationship.
Thank you again!
Up until now parents have been confused as to whether or not they could or should sleep with their babies. Is it safe? Is it dangerous psychologically? Will you create a "bad habit" by doing so? The well-meaning comments of family and friends, as well as the confusing information in newspapers and the media about this topic have only made parents feel guilty if they do cosleep.
Dr. McKenna is a leading researcher in the field of maternal-infant sleep. But don't let that scare you---this is not a dry science book. It is written with wit, warmth, kindness and is straight to the point: all sleeping must be done safely, whether done in a crib or a parent's bed. He explains the biological need of human beings to be close at night and helps us to understand how we can integrate this into our own lives. And he does so with science supporting his stance and without judgment regarding the choices of parents.
Thank you, Dr. McKenna, for this gift! I will be recommending this book to new parents and I will be giving it to expectant families. I have a feeling parents everywhere will sleep a little easier after reading your lovely, intelligent and helpful book. And I'll sleep a little easier knowing that I have shared it with them.
This book is an incredibly easy read. I believe it's about ninety pages long, so even a sleep-deprived parent or a recalcitrant partner can read it quickly. Within those pages is a huge amount of information. Rather than expousing his pet theories, McKenna brings in the research, and lots of it. Nevertheless, he keeps his book accessible and easy to read. I was never overwhelmed by the technobabble that occasionally accompanies quotations of scientific research. McKenna doesn't tell you what is best for your baby. He doesn't tell you where your child has to sleep. He offers many different options and leaves it to each family to decide what works best for them. For each option, he also offers information about when it would not be safe. After reading this book, I felt validated in most of the sleeping choices our family has made. I also realized that one of them was extrememly dangerous - falling asleep with our baby on the couch. Finally, Dr. McKenna's credentials are impeccable, and much more reliable than the Juvenile Products Commission, who are lobbyists for crib-makers. (No mixed interests there!) He runs the only mother-infant sleep lab in the country that actually studies mothers and infants during sleep. He also has some great information in there about SIDS.
This book is wonderful. It offers a wide-range of choices without the judgement that one finds in so many other parenting books, magazines, websites. McKenna obviously believes that babies belong near their parents, but he never claims that there is a one-sized-fits-all model for sleep. Rather than insulting our intelligence by attempting to persuade us to follow his plan, he offers options, explains which situations they are appropriate in and which they are not, and then leaves it to each family to make its own choices. All of this is wrapped up in an easy-to-read, very accessible package, which is especially appropriate for sleep-deprived parents and well-meaning in-laws.