Infant Mental Health for the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Infant sleep is usually irregular and inconsistent causing concern (and fatigue) for sleep-deprived parents.
Parents should be advised to encourage infant self-soothing techniques. Usual sleep parameters for infants are as follows:
Usual sleep parameters in the first year of life (Davis, 2004):
Age in months Night sleep hours Day sleep hours Longest sleep period
One month 8 7.75 2-4
6 months 10 4.25 6
12 months 10.25 3.5 X
Night wakening can be especially troublesome. According to Charles H. Zeanah MD: waking during the night is usual for infants age 3-6 months. Approximately 30% of infants are signalers who wake up, cry, and expect someone to comfort them. About 60-70% of 8 month old infants will self-comfort after night waking, and fall back to sleep.
If sleep problems persist to 6-9 months of age, it is important to take a good history focusing on bedtime routines and other factors that may influence sleep: television noise and light, allergies, room temperature. The first step intervention in addressing sleep issues is to set a consistent bedtime and a regular bedtime routine.
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