Baby Bonding and Co-sleeping

Sleeping with Your Infant: Looking at the Facts

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission came out with a news release in May 2002 announcing sleeping with your infants is unsafe. JPMA (crib industry) offered their conference as a forum for CPSC to make their announcement & offered to help finance/ promote continuing promotion of the idea to doctors & stores.

In addition to the questionable intent of the report's supporters, the release has left out the deaths that were diagnosed as SIDS, although the determination between suffocation and SIDS is often a judgment call. Suffocation in a crib is more often reported as SIDS, while suffocation in an adult bed is reported as "death by adult bed."

The other reason for not investigating the SIDS statistics is that other studies suggest that SIDS is reduced in babies cosleeping along with an aware, protective (non-smoking, non-drug-impaired) mother. Such a study would not sell cribs, or formula.

In a recent large study conducted in the United Kingdom it was concluded that:
"Bed sharing with nonsmoking parents was not identified as a risk factor for SIDS in term infants or in those born weighing at least 2,500 g."

Attachment Parenting International and members of the parenting community refute the CPSC's recent claim that co-sleeping is inherently dangerous. We maintain that when precautions are followed, co-sleeping with infants is safe and offers a multitude of benefits for both child and parent. We urge the CPSC to work to make all sleeping environments as safe as possible and provide parents with the information they need to make the decisions which are best for their family.

Holding Preemies is Better for Bonding and Infant Neurological Development

The objective of this paper was to examine whether the kangaroo care (KC) intervention in premature infants affects parent-child interactions and infant development.

The authors concluded: "Kangaroo Care" (holding a baby) skin to skin) had a significant positive impact on the infant's perceptual-cognitive and motor development and on the parenting process. We speculate that KC has both a direct impact on infant development by contributing to neurophysiological organization and an indirect effect by improving parental mood, perceptions, and interactive behavior.

Although this study may come as a surprise to the more technical minded in our society, for others it only substantiates what they innately knew to be true: of course holding a baby would have a more positve impact on the mother and infant--ask the mother --she would have agreed.

Feldman R, Eidelman AI, Sirota L, Weller A.   Comparison of skin-to-skin (kangaroo) and traditional care: parenting outcomes and preterm infant development   Pediatrics 2002 (Jul);   110 (1 Pt 1):   16-26

Crying for Comfort: Distressed Babies Need to Be Held
By Aletha Solter
Mothering Magazine Issue 122 (January/February 2004)

The term "cry it out" refers to the practice of leaving babies in their cribs without picking them up, and letting them cry themselves to sleep. A modified version of this approach is to go to the baby every few minutes to pat her on the back or reassure her verbally (but not pick the baby up), and to increase the length of time gradually so that the baby eventually "learns" to fall asleep alone.

But there is no doubt that repeated lack of responsiveness to a baby's cries-even for only five minutes at a time-is potentially damaging to the baby's mental health. Babies who are left to cry it out alone may fail to develop a basic sense of trust or an understanding of themselves as a causal agent, possibly leading to feelings of powerlessness, low self-esteem, and chronic anxiety later in life. The cry-it-out approach undermines the very basis of secure attachment, which requires prompt responsiveness and sensitive attunement during the first year after birth.

The attachment parenting movement is a healthy reaction to the harmful promotion of crying it out found in many parenting books. Attachment parents are aware of the possible emotional damage from leaving babies to cry alone, so they strive to meet their babies' needs for physical closeness and responsiveness. However, attachment parents can overlook the beneficial, healing function of crying, and believe that their job is not only to respond to, but to stop all crying. This article describes how parents can further promote babies' mental health by learning to recognize stress-release crying, and implementing what I call the "crying-in-arms" approach.

Read complete article here:

Always Hands On, Baby

Kangaroo Care is defined as holding your infant with skin to skin contact. According to a new study published in Pediatrics, low birth weight babies benefit from skin to skin contact. Compared to infants in incubators, newborns in "kangaroo mother care" had less severe infections, spent fewer days in the hospital, and had better head circumferences (a sign of better growth rate). The system, which involves placing a diaper-clad preemie upright on his mom's bare chest-tummy to tummy, in between her breasts, inside her clothing; her body warmth helps stabilize the baby's temperature and also allows for easier breastfeeding, was started in Columbia. The system is now being implemented and tested in neonatal clinics in the US, Canada, and Europe. Another favorable finding was that the benefits also extend to adults with moms feeling more empowered by their hands on responsibility.

Childhood parental separation experiences and depressive symptomatology in acute major depression

From the Abstract:

The aim of this study was to examine the pathoplastic effects of childhood parental separation experiences on depressive symptoms. Patients with acute major depression were identified in a large 31-center study of affective disorders in Japan. Information regarding the patients' childhood losses was collected using a semistructured interview, and their depressive symptomatology was assessed by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D).

Patients reported significantly higher CES-D total scores when they had experienced early object loss of the same-sex parent. In terms of the CES-D subscores derived by factor analysis, early object loss significantly aggravated symptoms that people normally could cope with but could no longer cope with when depressed (e.g. 'poor appetite', 'cannot shake off the blues' and 'everything an effort.').
Once depression develops, early object loss may act as a pathoplastic factor by making it severer especially by rendering people less able to perform what they normally could do.

Editor's Note:

There is a significant increase in children's depression and we all know the treatment is a wide array of psychotropic drugs. As Doctor's of Chiropractic concerned with looking to the cause rather than treating symptoms, we can help the families who come to us for care by explaining the importance of continuous contact with their infants. Natural birth, skin to skin contact with newborns, breastfeeding, baby carrying, cosleeping and certainly being with our children for the first couple of years of life are all important contributors to a child's ability to develop into physically, emotionally and socially healthy adults.

References are available on line at:

Ten Principles of Mother-Infant Bonding for Health,
Happiness and Harmony
By James W. Prescott, Ph.D

I.   Every Pregnancy Is A Wanted Pregnancy. Every Child Is A Wanted Child. Unwanted children are typically unloved, abused and neglected who become the next generation of delinquents, violent offenders and alcohol/drug abusers and addicts.

II.   Every Pregnancy Has Proper Nutrition & Prenatal Care--medical and psychological -- and is free from alcohol, drugs, tobacco and other harmful agents of stress.

III.   Natural Birthing--avoid wherever possible obstetrical medications, forceps & induced labor with no episiotomy nor premature cutting of umbilical cord. Mother controls birthing position with no separation of newborn from mother. Newborn maintains intimate body contact with mother for breastfeeding and nurturance.

IV.   No Circumcision of newborn. The traumatic pain of newborn circumcision adversely affects normal brain development, impairs affectional bonding with mother and has long lasting effects upon how pain and pleasure are experienced in life.

V.   Breastfeeding On Demand by newborn/infant/child and for "two years or beyond", as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. Failure to breastfeed results in positive harm to normal brain development & to the immunological health of the newborn, infant and child. Encoding the developing brain with the smell of mother's body through breastfeeding is essential for the later development of intimate sexuality.

VI.   Intimate Body Contact is maintained between mother and newborn/infant by being carried continuously on the body of the mother for the first year of life. Such continuous gentle body movement stimulation of the newborn/infant promotes optimal brain development and "Basic Trust" for peaceful/happy behaviors. Mother-infant co-sleeping is encouraged for "two years or beyond". Mother-infant/child body contact can also be optimized with daily infant/child massage. The Father must also learn to affectionately bond with his infant and child by being an additional source of physical affection.

VII.   Immediate Comforting is given to infants and children who are crying. No infant/child should ever be permitted to cry itself to sleep.

VIII.   Infants and Children Are For Hugging and should never be physically hit for any reason. Merging childhood parental love with parental violent pain helps create adult violent love.

IX.   Infants and Children Are Honored and should never be humiliated nor emotionally abused for any reason. The emerging sexuality of every child is respected.

X.   Mothers Must Be Honored and not replaced by Institutional Day Care which emotionally harms children before three years of age. Mother-Infant/Child Community Development Centers must replace Institutionalized Day Care.


By James W. Prescott, Ph.D. Institute of Humanistic Science

Touch the Future: Bonding and Violence

A baby's developing body and brain mirror and reflect, lifelong, the emotional-sensory environment provided by its first primary relationship, that is with its mother. The Origins of Love & Violence (please see below) take root in this first, primary sensory environment. What we call "affectional bonding" or nurturing, or its absence-- very early in life--structures the developing brain to interpret the world and its relationships as peaceful, pleasurable and loving or hostile, painful and violent depending on trust or anxiety experienced in this first relationship.

Links worth visiting:

Benefits of Co-sleeping
Attachment Parenting International

Deprivation of Physical Affection as a Main Cause of Depression, Aggression and Drug Abuse

Rock-A-Bye-Baby: A Time Life Documentary
Babywearing Tips
Articles on the Family Bed
Articles on co-sleeping