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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 217746 Find in a Library
Title: Helping Parents to Manage Infant Crying and Sleeping: A Review of the Evidence and Its Implications for Services
Journal: Child Abuse Review  Volume:16  Issue:1  Dated:January/February 2007  Pages:47-69
Author(s): Ian St. James-Roberts
Date Published: January 2007
Page Count: 23
Type: Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This literature review of recent research on infant crying and sleeping problems concludes with recommendations for preventing and treating these significant parenting problems.
Abstract: Comparative studies have found that infant-demand parenting is linked with low amounts of fussing and crying in the baby's first 3 months, but with waking at night that continues beyond 3 months. Randomized controlled trials have shown that structured parenting is associated with more overall fussing and crying during the first 3 months, but reduced crying and waking at night after the first 3 months. It is likely that many parents will adopt a compromise between infant-demand and structured care in order to minimize early crying but to help babies learn to remain settled at night. Little or no research to date has directly examined the optimum way of arranging these alternative parenting strategies. There is clear evidence that structured behavioral programs provide effective treatments for infant sleeping problems after 3 months of age, so this has become the recommended approach. The research review distinguishes between infant crying and sleeping problems, between the problem identified by parents and the infant behavior that underlies the problem, between different types of crying behavior and their causes, and between the types of cases that occur at different ages. It notes that the two main approaches to parenting advocated by experts, "infant-demand" and "structured parenting," have different benefits and costs. "Infant-demand" parenting refers to the natural instinct of parents to respond quickly to an infant's cries by feeding them, holding them, and sleeping with them. "Structured parenting" refers to the use of structured routines for feeding and sleeping regardless of the infant's crying and sleep patterns. 93 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse prevention; Parent education; Parental attitudes; Stress management
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