Tell expectant parents to expect sleep deprivation: it’s normal

  • Pennestri MH & al.
  • Pediatrics
  • 12 Nov 2018

  • curated by Emily Willingham, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Infant sleep duration seems to have no effect on developmental motor and mental outcomes.

Why this matters

  • Accompanying editorial notes mixed bag of results on infant sleep and developmental outcomes and says “the jury is still out.”
  • Expectant parents should learn about normal infant sleeping to protect against inflated expectations.

Key results

  • At age 6 months:
    • 62.4% of mothers reported ≥6 hours of infant sleep.
    • 55.0% of cohort were breastfeeding, but 80.8% sleeping  
    • 57.0% of infants got 
  • At age 12 months:
    • 27.9% of infants sleeping
    • 43.4% reported
    • No associations of sleep duration with concurrent motor or mental development or maternal mood.

Study design

  • Maternal report on sleep, feeding method (breast or formula) of 388 infants, whether they slept
  • Motor and mental developmental measures taken concurrently, along with maternal mood.
  • Funding: Ludmer Center for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, others.

Limitations

  • Mothers might have missed some awakenings.
  • No objective sleep measures.
  • Variables like introduction of solid food not known.

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