How Do Infants Sleep Different Near Adults?

Greer Kirshenbaum, PhD

What you will learn:

  • Biological reasons that infants benefit from sleeping near caregivers.
  • Role of oxytocin in infant sleep.
  • How keeping caregivers close helps regulate stress and cortisol levels. 
  • Emotional contagion and infant sleep. 


  • Gunnar M. R. (2017). Social Buffering of Stress in Development: A Career Perspective. Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, 12(3), 355–373. 
  • Nishitani, S., Miyamura, T., Tagawa, M., Sumi, M., Takase, R., Doi, H., Moriuchi, H., & Shinohara, K. (2009). The calming effect of a maternal breast milk odor on the human newborn infant. Neuroscience research, 63(1), 66–71. 
  • Shenfield, T., Trehub, S. E., & Nakata, T. (2003). Maternal Singing Modulates Infant Arousal. Psychology of Music, 31(4), 365–375.
  • Sullivan, R., Perry, R., Sloan, A., Kleinhaus, K., & Burtchen, N. (2011). Infant bonding and attachment to the caregiver: insights from basic and clinical science. Clinics in perinatology, 38(4), 643–655.
  • Morgan, B. E., Horn, A. R., & Bergman, N. J. (2011). Should neonates sleep alone?. Biological psychiatry, 70(9), 817–825. 

Emotions and Needs Inquiry for Parents (Webinar +Workbook)

This is an upgrade from the free PDF above. When we become parents our brains get enhanced neuroplasticity- especially in our emotional brain areas that underlie our parenting abilities and our mental health, so infancy is an incredible opportunity to shape your parent brain towards better mental health.

A really important skill we can learn is to understand our emotions and needs.

As nurturing parents, we have a lot of emotions – powerful ones – some that feel really good and some that feel really uncomfortable.

When we investigate our emotions – we gain powerful abilities to self – regulate, reshape our brains towards resilience and become models of good mental health to our babies.

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