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Baby brain development may not depend on sleeping during the night


(Reuters Health) – Non-sleeping babies appear to be at higher risk of cognitive or motor development, a study of Canada suggests.

Deciding whether to train babies to sleep through the night is one of the most common problems that face new parents, with some previous research suggesting inadequate sleeping can lead to a range of developmental problems for babies. However, less is known whether the development of babies is influenced by the amount of sleeping hours that occur long overnight.

For the current study, researchers examined data on 388 mom-baby couples, asking women about their own mood and baby sleeping procedures and the assessment of cognitive and infant motor development when the babies were 6, 12 and 36 months old

"We found that a high percentage of 6- and 12-month babies sleeping during the night and not related to the development of babies than mums," said study leader Marie-Helene Pennestri from the University of McGill in Montreal and hospital mental health Riviere-des-Prairies.

"So parents should not worry if their babies do not sleep in the evenings by 6 months," says Penners by email.

Babies were classified in the study as sleeping during the night when they had at least six hours of continuous rest.

In 6 months, around 62 per cent of mothers reported that their babies slept at least six hours a night. Girls were more likely to do this than boys; 70 per cent of girls slept overnight compared to 56 per cent of boys.

In this age, only 43 per cent of mothers reported that their babies slept at least eight hours a night. Although girls were slightly more likely than boys to do this, the difference was small and maybe due to chance.

Breastfeeding was associated with lower costumes of sleeping during the night and also found the study. Around 55 per cent of babies sleeping 6 hours a 6 month old breast age were breastfeed, while 81% of babies who did not sleep for six hours without breastbreeding.

And almost 49 per cent of babies that slept eight hours a night in this age were breastfeeding, compared to 77 per cent of babies who did not sleep so long.

Pediatricians recommend that mothers only breastfeed only until they are at least six months old because they can increase infant immune systems and reduce their risk of ear and respiratory infections, sudden death syndrome, allergies, obesity and diabetes.

By 12 months, 72 per cent of babies slept at least 6 hours and 57% slept at least eight hours a night. Evening sleeping was still associated with higher probability of continuing breastfeeding in this age.

Although the benefits of breastfeeding have been well established, night-feeding skipping can encourage more sleeping at night for babies and mothers to be detrimental, the authors study ends in Pediatrics.

The study was not compiled to prove that unusual sleeping could have a direct impact on breastfeeding, child development or mother's mood. Researchers also rely on the supervision of mothers about sleeping babies rather than monitoring babies directly.

Sleeping, while important, this is not just what influences children's development, says Jodi Mindell, associate director of the Sleep Center at the Philadelphia Children's Hospital and a professor at the University of St Joseph.

"There are so many things that affect long-term development, such as genetics, nutrition and parent-interaction," said Mindell, who wrote a commentary on the study, by e-mail.

Some parents may still want to train babies sleeping during the night because this can help the whole family to get more rest regularly, says Mindell.

"Sleep training is not expected to result in a baby being faster than years later, that is not the goal," said Mindell. "Studies have always found that sleeping training leads to happier and less stressful families."

SOURCE: and Pediatrics, online November 12, 2018.

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