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date: 24 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the contextualized nature of the constructs of co-sleeping and self-soothing. Definitions and relevant theoretical frameworks are considered first, followed by a review of the relevant literature. Self-soothing and co-sleeping are regarded as components of an infant’s developmental niche and as transactional. That is, one cannot understand or judge the effectiveness of either self-soothing or co-sleeping outside of the parenting, familial, racial/ethnic, and cultural contexts within which they occur. It is equally important to consider that infant characteristics are likely to play a role in the development of self-soothing and family sleep arrangement choices. This chapter reviews the controversies and research base behind each perspective on co-sleeping and self-soothing to present a balanced perspective. It concludes with recommendations for future research.

Keywords: co-sleeping, bed sharing, self-soothing, infant sleep, contextual factors, developmental niche

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