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Behavioural infant sleep intervention does not have long-lasting effects on children’s emotions or behaviour, or maternal outcomes

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Question: What are the long-term benefits and harms of behavioural infant sleep intervention?

Patients: 326 children who were born between June and July 2003 attended a 4-month well-child check, whose mothers reported that their baby's sleep had been a problem in the last 2 weeks in a screening questionnaire at 7 months. Infants born at <32 weeks’ gestation and mothers with insufficient English were excluded from the original study. At the current follow-up at age 6, children with intellectual disability or developmental delay were excluded (two children).

Setting: 49 maternal and child health centres, 6 local government areas, Australia; 2003–2009.

Intervention: Behavioural sleep intervention versus usual care. Nurses at centres allocated to the intervention group were trained to deliver a brief, standardised behavioural sleep intervention at the routine 8-month well-child check to mothers who reported infant sleep problems. Take-up of the intervention was voluntary (57.5% of families accepted). The main sleep techniques offered to the mothers were ‘controlled …

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  • Sources of funding: The Foundation for Children and the Victorian Government's Operational Infrastructure Support Program.


  • Competing interests None.