-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- Mothers with depression
may behave in ways that disturb their infants' sleep, according to
a new study.
Pennsylvania State University researchers conducted home visits
with 45 mothers and their infants between the ages of 1 month and 2
years over 7 consecutive days to collect information about
depression symptoms among the mothers and their infants' quality of
Greater amounts of sleep disruption were noted in infants whose
mothers had higher levels of symptoms of depression and more
worries about their infants' sleep, the researchers found.
They then investigated whether the mothers' symptoms of
depression caused them to behave in ways that affected their
infants' sleep, or whether infants' night awakenings led their
mothers to be more depressed, perhaps because of lack of sleep.
The researchers found that it's the depression-linked behavior
of mothers that interferes with infants' sleep. For example,
mothers with more symptoms of depression and worries were more
likely to pick up babies who were sleeping.
Mothers who are feeling depressed may seek emotional comfort by
going to their infants during the night, the researchers explained.
Mothers who worry excessively about their infants' well-being might
respond to any infant sound in the night and move their babies into
their own beds in order to ease concerns about whether their
infants are hungry, thirsty and comfortable.
The study was published April 17 in the journal
The findings help "us better understand what factors influence
infants' sleep in homes in which mothers are depressed," lead
author Douglas Teti, a professor of human development, psychology
and pediatrics, said in a journal news release.
"Sleep problems often endure beyond early childhood and can have a negative effect on various aspects of development, including emotional, behavioral and academic functioning," Teti noted.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about
babies and sleep.
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