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Parental Training Helps Babies Sleep Better, Study Finds

    news 20 July feature

    Science News

    Researchers at the Pennsylvania State University explored how parental training can help babies sleep more. The study is published in the journal Pediatrics.

    The Study

    The researchers conducted the study over several years. As part of the 2012 INSIGHT study, 279 mothers with first-born babies were trained in responsive parenting practices.

    The training included, amongst other things, recommended bedtime routines for infants and responding to nighttime waking. The infants in the intervention group were then studied for the next few years.

    The researchers wanted to further explore if the parental training affected children who were later born into families with INSIGHT training. They examined data from 117 mothers from the first study, who had gone to have a second child.

    The Findings

    The results confirmed the association between mothers learning new skills related to parenting and healthy baby sleep. It was found that children in the INSIGHT intervention group slept longer each night than children in the control group.

    The first group also had a lowered risk of obesity. Moreover, it was seen that second-born children in INSIGHT families slept longer per night than second-born children in the control group.

    Towards Interventions

    The study reinforces the claim that ‘sleep time’ responsive parental skills help your baby sleep better. In fact, establishing healthy routines, responding to children’s needs, and teaching them to soothe themselves to sleep means not only getting your baby to sleep but also helping yourself care for your mental and physical health.

    One of the lead researchers, Emily Hohman, elaborated: “Our outcomes suggest that pediatricians may have a new tool to help promote better infant sleeping and prevent unhealthy infant weight gain. If those clinicians help new parents build responsive parenting skills, the benefits could extend to the parents, their newborns, and any potential future children in those families.”

    To Know More You May Refer To

    Hohman, E. E., Savage, J. S., Marini, M. E., Anzman-Frasca, S., Buxton, O. M., Loken, E., & Paul, I. M. (2022). Effect of the INSIGHT Firstborn Parenting Intervention on Secondborn Sleep. Pediatrics150(1), e2021055244. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2021-055244