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A depressed mom will needlessly wake up a newborn and subsequently develop disrupted sleep patterns in the infant. When the depression of a parent leads to disruption in the baby’s and parents’ sleep, there could be negative consequences for the long-term parent-child relationship.
“We found that mothers with high depressive symptom levels are more likely to excessively worry about their infants at night than others with low symptom levels, and that such others were more likely to seek out their babies at night and spend more time with their infants than mothers with low symptom levels. This, in turn, was associated with increased night walking in the infants of depressed mothers, compared to the infants of non-depressed mothers. Especially interesting about this was that when depressed mothers sought out their infants at night, their infants did not appear to be in need of parental help. They were either sound asleep or perhaps awake, but not distressed,” explained Douglas M. Teti, co-author of the study.
Moms with low levels of depressive symptoms seldom disturbed their babies while they slept peacefully. Those mothers only entered the baby’s room if the infant was in distress.
Teti stressed that the family dynamic needs to be taken into account and a strategy developed at that level. There are a variety of interventions to help all types of problems. For instance, directly address maternal depression with therapy. Understand infant sleep patterns better and know what’s normal. The spouse can get more involved and share in the responsibilities and awareness. Educate the family on the importance of sleep.
Source: MedicalNewsToday, Child Development
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