WEDNESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A set of criteria can be used by pediatricians to reassure new parents that their infant is likely to sleep through the night -- on the parents' sleep schedule -- by the age of 5 months, according to research published online Oct. 25 in Pediatrics.
Jacqueline M.T. Henderson, Ph.D., of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, and colleagues conducted a prospective longitudinal study of 75 normally developing infants based on parental questionnaires and videosomnography. The purpose of the study was to investigate the consolidation of infants' nocturnal sleep over the first year, and to determine when infants first sleep through the night based on each of three different criteria.
The researchers found that self-regulated sleep length increased most between 1 and 4 months of age. The greatest probability of meeting criterion one (infant sleeps through the night from 24:00 to 05:00 hours) occurred at 2 months; for criterion two (infant sleeps for eight hours), 3 months; for criterion three (infant sleeps congruently with family between 22:00 and 06:00 hours), 4 months. By 5 months, the majority of infants slept congruently with their parents.
"Our longitudinal data provide a reliable empirical foundation for advice about infant sleep development and provide a context for clinicians to discuss sleep issues with parents," the authors write.