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Research Review - Preventing Early Infant Sleep and Crying Problems and Postnatal Depression - A Randomized Trial

posted Mar 3, 2014, 8:16 AM by AndrewandSarah Witzel

In this blog post I’m going to discuss a study that was published in the February 2014 issue of the journal Pediatrics. The article is titled “Preventing Early Infant Sleep and Crying Problems and Postnatal Depression - A Randomized Trial” and was written by an Australian team that included a medical doctor, psychologist, and other researchers.

The study had two groups of women and babies. One group received standard care, and the other group received extra information about infant soothing techniques, parent self-care, and normal vs. medically abnormal infant sleep and crying behavior. This extra education was delivered via written materials and a DVD, a telephone consultation, and also a group parent session at different points in the first three months.

The primary outcome studied was infant nighttime sleep problems (as reported by the caregiver/parent) but they also assessed other factors, including postpartum depression symptoms scored by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Parents who received the interventions were had lower scores (indicated milder symptoms) than those who received only standard care.

I have no trouble believing the results of this study - the more information about what is truly normal you have the less you worry needlessly, the effective you become at soothing your baby the less frustrated you both will be, and the more you are heard by your health care professionals and connected with other parents, the less isolated you will feel.

There may be limited opportunity to participate in studies such as this one, but you can reap some of the benefits seen by educating yourself and participating in similar activities. The Baby Book by Dr. Sears and The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Karp (available as either a book or DVD) offer great tips on settling your baby and calming crying. Parent supports groups are available in many communities (usually at a minimal cost, if any) through public health regions, churches, organizations such as Mommy Connections or Momstown, and other venues.

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