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Bedsharing Promotes Breastfeeding
by James J. McKenna, Ph.D.

McKenna, J.J. et al. Pediatr. 100:214-219,1997

Since breastfeeding is related to a reduction in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), child care practices that enhance breastfeeding may be a means to reducing the infant's vulnerability to develop SIDS. This study quantified the night-time breastfeeding behaviors in 20 mother child pairs that routinely bedshared and a group of 15 that slept solitary when the infants were 3 to 4 months old. Results showed that routine bedsharing infants breastfed approximately three times longer than the non bedsharing infants during night-time breastfeeding. When quantified this represented a two-fold increase in the number of breastfeeding episodes and 39% longer episodes.

McKenna and his team suggest that bedsharing may offer protection against SIDS. Moreover McKenna underscores the need to rethink normal infant-mother behavior, not only in cultural terms but also in biological terms.

Abstract from INFACT Canada.

Full text at Pediatrics.

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