James McKenna

James McKenna

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Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Professor of Anthropology

Office: 624 Flanner
Phone: 574-631-3816
Email: McKenna.25@nd.edu

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Areas of Expertise

Infant co-sleeping, breast-feeding, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), evolution of human behavior, evolutionary medicine, human parenting and infancy

A world-renowned expert on infant sleep – in particular the practice of bed sharing or “co-sleeping,” especially in relation to breastfeeding, McKenna is a widely quoted authority on this frequently debated parenting issue. As director of Notre Dame’s Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory, he is known for conducting the first ever physiological and behavioral studies of the differences between solitary and co-sleeping mother-infant pairs. McKenna is a strong proponent of co-sleeping and focuses his research specifically on the relationship between sleeping arrangements, feeding method and risk factors for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The author of “Sleeping With Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Co-sleeping," McKenna also has published more than 130 refereed articles in medical, anthropology and psychology journals and completed two monographs on SIDS and infant sleep.


James J. McKenna covering all aspects of the bed-sharing debate.


Babies can sleep safely next to mothers


What’s the big idea? Ten speakers to participate in ND Thinks Big

McKenna, Aprahamian named AAAS fellows

Anthropologist recognized by national association

Infant co-sleeping expert James McKenna authors new book

Infant co-sleeping expert sheds light on controversial practice

Dance Chose Him


Der Spiegel—Stillen als Zwangsverhütung: Mama gehört mir ganz allein

Die Welt—Warum Babys nachts ständig aufwachen

The Independent—Babies evolved to wake new mothers in the middle of the night as a survival tactic, claims Harvard biologist

Fox News—Co-sleeping and bed-sharing: Is it a good idea?

Fit Pregnancy—Sleep With Your Baby

Huffington Post—Co-Sleeping Research Looks At Breathing Risks For Baby

NPR—Does Milwaukee’s Campaign Against Sleeping With Babies Go Too Far?

NBC Today Show—Can co-sleeping be safe? Dr. Sears explains

Time Magazine—Go Ahead, Let Your Kids Climb into Bed With Mom and Dad

Sun-sentinel.com—Babies sleep best when they are not alone

Rise in Infant Suffocations Renews Debate On Bed-Sharing (Washington Post, 1/26/09)