Objections to Cosleeping with Infants

The fear of overlaying haunts many parents in Western culture today. Most believe it is possible to roll over and squish a baby or suffocate it under a mound of blankets. But as infant sleep researcher McKenna notes, babies are born with strong survival reflexes, and they will kick and scream before they let anything clog their airways. The simple evidence that most babies around the world today sleep with a parent and they are not dying from suffocation should be enough to convince parents that it's pretty difficult to roll over on a baby and not notice. True, soft mattresses and plush pillows represent a very real risk of suffocation; also, if the baby is wrapped so tightly it can't express its natural instincts to push something away, there could be a problem. But Western parents who fear they will suffocate babies are wrong. In a healthy atmosphere, where parents are not intoxicated, on drugs, or obese, the chance of killing an infant by overlaying is zero. If this is true, why does the myth persist? The myth of overlaying persists because in many Western cultures there are also social, emotional, and political reasons to keep babies out of the parental bed. In the seventeenth century, the Catholic Church became concerned with the possible sexual vulnerability of young girls sleeping with their fathers. At the same time, European culture was developing notions of romantic love and redefining marriage as a conjugal bond rather than an economic or political unit. Suddenly the mother—father relationship took on a separateness within the larger idea of family. When the relationship of mother and father became a sacred, private, sexually intimate bond, parental privacy was born. Children, although offshoots of the bond, were not allowed to interfere with the spousal union. Infants and children, on one level, were seen as a threat to that bond and to the patriarchy that established the father as die family authority. This view later led to the Oedipus complex in Freudian psychology—a drama that cannot be played out unless it is understood that mother and father have a special, private bond in the first place.


The fear of overlaying and religious objections to parents cosleeping with their babies.

Folksonomies: parenting cosleeping attachment parenting

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Mother (0.948850): dbpedia | freebase
Father (0.886954): dbpedia | freebase
Family (0.841726): dbpedia | freebase
Parent (0.838519): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Infant (0.816833): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Pregnancy (0.800814): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Infancy (0.789929): dbpedia
Culture (0.737838): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Small , Meredith (1999-05-04), Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent, Anchor, Retrieved on 2011-06-29
Folksonomies: parenting pregnancy babies infancy parenthood