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Tags: depression | babies | sleep

Depressed Moms Disrupt Babies’ Sleep

Thursday, 19 April 2012 12:19 PM EDT

New mothers who suffer depression are more likely to disrupt their infants’ sleep, new research finds.
Depressed moms are more likely to be consumed by worries about their babies and, as a result, engage in behaviors that interrupt their infants' sleep — for example, picking up children who are sleeping.
The research, conducted by Pennsylvania State University and published in the journal Child Development, suggests pediatricians and health providers help new mothers with depression cope in ways that don’t interfere with their infants’ sleep, which is important for healthy development.
"Sleep problems often endure beyond early childhood and can have a negative effect on various aspects of development, including emotional, behavioral, and academic functioning," said lead researcher Douglas M. Teti. "Understanding how maternal depression and sleep problems combine to affect children's development is important to developing interventions to help reduce these negative consequences."
For the study, researchers tracked 45 moms and their infants, who ranged in age from 1 to 24 months, in home visits for seven days. They found depressed moms who worry excessively about their babies' well-being at night tend to respond to infant sounds that don't necessarily require response. They are also more likely to pick them up when they are sleeping or move their babies into their own beds to alleviate their own anxieties about whether their infants are hungry, thirsty, and comfortable.
Some may also seek out their infants at night for their own emotional comfort.

© HealthDay

New mothers who worry excessively may actively interrupt their infants' sleep.
Thursday, 19 April 2012 12:19 PM
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