Human Infancy Symposium Convenes At University Of Notre Dame

September 23, 1998

A group of prominent international experts will convene at the University of Notre Dame Sept. 28 for a rare cross-disciplinary symposium on human infancy entitled "Back to the Future: The Role of Breast Feeding, Parental Contact and Proximity in Promoting Infant Health."

The one-day symposium, which is free and open to the public, was organized by James J. McKenna, professor of anthropology at Notre Dame, and celebrates the opening of Notre Dame's new Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory. McKenna is widely known for his ground-breaking research advocating cosleeping arrangements for parents and small children. The symposium begins at 8 a.m. in Notre Dame's Center for Continuing Education.

Infant care practices around the world take diverse forms, says McKenna. "Even within one culture, parental caregiving choices and styles vary enormously. The strategies of care that parents adopt can have major influences on both short-term and long-term infant health."

Examples of caregiving choices include whether to breast- or bottle-feed, whether or not to allow the baby to sleep with the mother, how much to hold or carry the infant, and how quickly to respond to an infant's cry.

In addition to McKenna, other researchers participating in the symposium include:For more information, contact James McKenna at (219) 631-3816.
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University of Notre Dame

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