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Pediatrics. 1991 Apr;87(4):500-4.

Night waking during infancy: role of parental presence at bedtime.

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Department of Pediatrics, Boston City Hospital, Boston University School of Medicine.


Night waking occurs commonly in infants and young children. The goal of this study is to determine whether parents who report being present when their infant falls asleep at bedtime are more likely to report increased frequency of night waking by the infant. Mothers were consecutively recruited when they brought their infants to the clinic for their 9-month well-child visit. A total of 122 mothers agreed to participate and completed a questionnaire consisting of closed-ended, forced choice questions about their infant's feeding and sleeping behavior, and demographic and psychosocial characteristics. For 33% of the mothers, a parent was routinely present when the infant went to sleep. The entire sample of infants averaged 4.1 night wakings during the week prior to questionnaire completion. Infants whose parents were present at bedtime were significantly more likely to wake at night than infants whose parents were not present (6.2 vs 3.1, P = .01). Frequent night waking (seven or more wakings in the prior week) occurred in 28% of the sample. More of the infants whose parents were present experienced frequent night waking compared with infants whose parents were not present (40% vs 22%, P less than .04). When potential confounding variables were controlled by multivariate analysis, parents being present when the child went to sleep was independently associated with night waking (P less than .03). The association of parental presence at bedtime and night waking has implications for preventing and managing disruptive night waking in infancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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