The Real Bedtime Story

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photoFrom the dawn of time, when the sun went down human families tended to tumble into a family bed. Then came the Victorians, and nurseries, and baby beds. Tucking in and turning out the light. Spare the solitude, spoil the child.

By the mid-twentieth century, American parents were overwhelmingly tucking junior into junior's bed and heading off to their own king-sized solitude. Most still do.

But co-sleeping — pulling the kids in with mom and dad for the night — has surged in recent years. There have always been ethnic variations in habit, with white Americans as the big hold-out. Now, everyone's co-sleeping more. Lots more. Maybe because of breast-feeding. Maybe because we're just starved for time with the little critters.

This hour, On Point: time-famine, co-sleeping and the crowded family bed.


Donald G. McNeil, Jr., science reporter The New York Times

James McKenna, head of the Mother-Child Sleep Lab at the University of Notre Dame

Joshua Sparrow, child psychiatrist and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, co-author of three new books on sleep, fussy babies, and discipline

Andrea Barbalich, executive editor Child magazine

This program aired on January 17, 2003.


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