Night Waking, Sleep-Wake Organization, and Self-Soothing in the First Year of Life

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Abstract

ABSTRACT.

Few objective data are available regarding infants' night waking behaviors and the development of self-soothing during the first year of life. This cross-sectional study examined 80 infants in one of four age groups (3, 6, 9, or 12 mo) for four nights by using videosomnography to code nighttime awakenings and parent-child interactions. A large degree of variability was observed in parents' putting the infant to bed awake or asleep and in responding to vocalizations after nighttime awakenings. Most infants woke during the night at all ages observed. Younger infants tended to require parental intervention at night to return to sleep, whereas older infants exhibited a greater proportion of self-soothing after nighttime awakenings. However, even in the 12-month-old group, 50% of infants typically required parental intervention to get back to sleep after waking. Results emphasize the individual and contextual factors that effect the development of self-soothing behavior during the first year of life.

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