This study examined parents' expectations of and opinions about infant sleep consolidation, the temporal timing and definitions of sleeping through the night and sources of advice about their infant's sleep.Methods:
Participants were 412 parents (mean age 31 years ±6.8) with a child 2 years or younger recruited at shopping malls and other public places. Parents completed a brief survey on (i) the nocturnal duration they considered an infant should sustain uninterrupted sleep; (ii) a temporal location within the night for a criterion for sleeping through the night; (iii) their agreement or disagreement with Moore and Ucko's (1957) 24:00–05:00 h criterion defining sleeping through the night; and (iv) the sources of advice they had sought about infant's sleep.Results:
Parents expected infants to sustain sleep on average for 9.6 ± 3.4 h, with trends indicating the more children in the family (P = 0.02; d = 0.26) and lower family socio-economic status (P = 0.01; d = 0.34) the shorter the durations expected. Sleeping through the night was defined within a temporal location from 20:00 to 06:30 h. Over 80% of parents disagreed that 24:00–05:00 h criterion defined sleeping through the night. Forty-seven per cent of parents had sought advice regarding their infants' sleep, with Child Health Care Nurses the most popular source.Conclusions:
New Zealand parents have realistic expectations of infant capabilities for sleep consolidation that were within contemporary clinical guidelines. A new parent-based definition of sleeping through the night is presented that has social and developmental validity.