Infant Sleep and Feeding

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ObjectiveTo conduct an integrated review of the literature on the relationship between infant sleep and feeding; hence, health care providers have accurate information to provide anticipatory guidance to parents making decisions regarding feeding and sleeping.Data SourcesComputerized searches of MEDLINE and CINAHL databases, as well as references lists from published articles on infant sleep and feeding methods from 1982 to 2007. Search terms were “infant sleep” and “infant feeding.”Study SelectionLiterature was selected from refereed publications in the areas of nursing, medicine, psychology, sociology, and lactation. A total of 48 publications were used in this review.Data ExtractionData were extracted using keywords pertinent to infant sleep parameters and the relationship to feeding method. A total of 161 articles were reviewed for inclusion, and only 37 met inclusion criteria. Eleven additional articles were retrieved from the references of these 37 articles.Data SynthesisArticles that focused on early infant sleep development and sleep were utilized. Those that focused exclusively on premature or older infants or toddlers or whose primary focus was on sudden infant death syndrome were excluded.ConclusionsInfants have unique sleep patterns causing adjustment for new parents. Sleep is biopsychosocially influenced, and the interactions between parent and baby have a profound effect on the sleeping and feeding methods and patterns of the infant. When health care providers appreciate these influences and individual nuances of infant sleep, they can share information to appropriately guide and reassure the developing family.

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