Recommended Site

Mother-and-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory

The University of Notre Dame Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab is a research and teaching laboratory, conducting cutting-edge research on many critical issues, including the safety of different sleep environments and the physiological and/or psychological consequences of different choices of sleeping arrangements made by parents. The Laboratory is directed by Dr. James J. McKenna, the world's foremost researcher on sleep sharing, who specializes in the areas of sudden infant death syndrome, parenting, and infant development. To read Dr. McKenna's articles on our site, click here.

The Laboratory explores what occurs during a night of sleep, who takes care of the infant or child, what kinds of responses are given, how much feeding occurs, and how is it elicited. Fathers are now included in the sleep studies and are an important factor in understanding infant and childhood sleep in the context of family dynamics.

The well-designed web site includes a detailed description of the laboratory's methods and special interests, as well as Dr. McKenna's appointments and areas of interest, research grants, lecture topics, and publication titles.

The "Frequently Asked Questions" section includes six well-presented replies:

  • Guidelines to Sleeping Safe with Infants
  • What is the "proper" sleeping arrangement for me and my baby?
  • Co-sleeping and Overlaying/Suffocation?
  • Is there a chance I'll roll over and crush my child?
  • What are the advantages of having our baby sleep with us?
  • What are the long-term effects on my baby of sharing a bed?
  • Will our baby sleep through the night sooner if he or she shares our bed?

Dr. McKenna's short essay "Philosophical Reflections" is a must-read. His extensive article "Cultural Influences on Infant Sleep" provides a wealth of supportive cultural background material about what constitutes "normal, healthy and desirable" infant sleep and show "the interconnectedness between scientific research, cultural values, concerns for morality, and sleeping arrangements characteristic of Western society." There is also an interesting web-based slide show, "International SIDS Meeting 2000", as well as a thorough explanation on "Why the CPSC [Consumer Product Safety Commission] is Wrong". The site also includes two examples of Safe Co-sleeping pamphlets from Milwaukee and New Zealand.

Dr. McKenna has contributed what is surely the best web site on co-sleeping. Visit soon and spread the word!

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