Controlled crying reduces infant sleep problems

Teaching mothers how to implement controlled crying techniques can reduce infant sleep problems and symptoms of postnatal depression, finds a study in this week’s BMJ.

Researchers at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia identified 156 mothers of infants aged 6-12 months with severe sleep problems.

Mothers in the intervention group received advice on the use of controlled crying methods. They also received a sleep management plan, information about normal sleep patterns in infants, and the management of sleep problems. Mothers in the control group received the information on normal sleep patterns, but did not receive advice on how to manage infant sleep problems.

The intervention significantly reduced infant sleep problems and symptoms of maternal depression over two months. It was also acceptable to mothers, involved minimal family disruption, and reduced the need for mothers to seek alternative help for their infant’s sleep, conclude the authors.

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