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Anxious mothers may disrupt babies sleep: study

Depressed mothers might cuddle their infants in the night as they need the emotional comfort.

Written by Agencies | London | Published: April 17, 2012 4:39:34 pm

Are your suffering from anxiety or depression? Ladies,consult a doctor,for a new study says that it may cause sleep problems in your newborn baby.

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have carried out the study and found that mothers who are depressed or anxious may disturb their babies’ sleep because of their constant worry,a media report said.

This is because their anxiety and worry led them to disturb their children when they are sleeping by picking them up and feeding them instead of letting them go back to sleep,taking them into their own bed or cuddling them at night as they needed the emotional comfort rather than their baby.

Lead author Douglas Teti said: “This study provides insights about maternal depression’s effects on night-time parenting,and how such parenting affects infant sleep.”

In the study,the researchers recruited 45 mothers with higher levels of symptoms of depression and more worries about their babies’ sleep.

After studying 45 mothers and their babies,aged from between a month to 2 years,over the course of a week,the team found that the mothers with more symptoms of depression were more likely to pick up their babies when they were sleeping or disrupt their sleep in other ways.

The mothers were asked to keep sleep diaries,were interviewed by the researchers during home visits and were video recorded during one night.

The authors suggested that mothers who worry excessively about their babies’ well being at night were quicker to respond to slight sounds the baby made even if the infant was not upset or in need of attention.

Alternatively they moved the babies into their own beds because they were worried they needed feeding or if they were comfortable,according to the findings published in ‘Child Development’ journal.

The researchers also suggested that depressed mothers might cuddle their infants in the night because they needed the emotional comfort of it instead of only responding when their babies needed settling.

“Sleep problems often endure beyond early childhood and can have a negative effect on various aspects of development,including emotional,behavioural,and academic functioning.

“Understanding how maternal depression and sleep problems combine to affect child’s development is important to developing interventions to help reduce these negative consequences,” the researchers said.

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