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Babies Keep Parents Sleep Deprived on Purpose So They Don’t Make Any More Babies

"Go the f--- to sleep." —Samuel L. Jackson

Amelia Waiting for Phone

Any new parent can tell you that sleeping through the night is a rare experience after babby is formed. According to Harvard biology professor David Haig, that may be on purpose. He says that babies intentionally wake parents up for overnight feedings to keep them from… making more babies.

“Intentionally” might not be the right word. An infant doesn’t decide at 2:00AM that they’d better start crying and demanding to be fed so their parents don’t have sex. They just do what they’ve evolved to do — survive and pass on their genes. Children have a better chance of surviving if they have fewer siblings, or at least if their parents wait some time before having another child.

Besides the obvious result of the baby’s parents being too tired to get down to baby-making business, breastfeeding mothers are less likely to ovulate while their baby is still nursing.

Haig published his theory in the journal Evolution, Medicine and Public Health’s latest issue. That same issue has a rebuttal published by Harvard evolutionary biologist Katherine Hinde who writes that babies evolved to cry during the night well before modern humans got onto our current 9-to-5 schedule.

While there’s still some debate as to why babies wake up crying in the middle of the night and cause their parents to lose sleep, parents everywhere (myself included) can tell you that they most certainly do.

(via NPR, image and baby my own)

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Glen is a comedian, writer, husband, and father. He won his third-grade science fair and is a former preschool science teacher, which is a real job.