Mothers Often Engage in Nonrecommended Practices for Infant Sleep
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Mothers Often Engage in Nonrecommended Practices for Infant Sleep

Almost all mothers aware of ABCs of safe sleep, but many feel they are unrealistic and use nonrecommended practices

TUESDAY, March 26, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Mothers often engage in nonrecommended practices to improve their infant's sleep, according to a study published online March 26 in Pediatrics.

Rachel Y. Moon, M.D., from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, and colleagues conducted surveys and focus groups from November 2022 to March 2023 with 25 English-speaking mothers of infants younger than 6 months of age who reported a nonrecommended sleep position and/or location two or more times in the previous week.

The researchers found that 80 percent of mothers reported holding or rocking their infant to sleep, while 76 percent fed their infant to sleep. Almost all participants were aware of the Alone, Back, Crib (ABCs) of safe sleep; before delivery, they intended to follow the ABCs. However, many felt that the ABCs were unrealistic and used nonrecommended locations or positions that were perceived as more comfortable and helpful for infants falling asleep and staying asleep. Nonrecommended practices were more likely to be used when the mothers were awake or sleeping nearby, and the mothers believed they could monitor their infant closely. Other safety concerns (e.g., fall prevention) were prioritized over prevention of sudden infant death syndrome and sudden unexpected infant death by some mothers. In general, mothers expressed confidence about getting their baby to sleep, but were less confident doing this while following guidelines.

"Interventions that teach parents about developmentally appropriate sleep patterns and strategies to promote infant sleep and self-soothing may increase adherence to safe sleep guidelines," the authors write.

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