Objective/background: Night wakings are common during infancy, with variability in infant self-soothing or requiring parent involvement to fall back asleep. Reasons for variable soothing behaviors are unclear and may be influenced by early-life sleep parenting practices. The study applied a novel method using sleep actigraphy in mother-father-infant triads to quantify infant-only wake bouts (i.e., “self-soothing”) and examined associations between sleep parenting practices from 6 to 24 weeks of age. Patients/methods: Mother-father-infant triads (N = 20) wore sleep monitors for 1 week at infant ages 6, 15, and 24 weeks. Data were time-matched within families to quantify infant-only wake bouts (when infants woke in the night and parents remained asleep) to be indicative of infant self-soothing. Mothers reported on sleep parenting practices (e.g., feeding to sleep, putting infants to bed while awake) using the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire at each age. Mixed models tested associations between parenting practices and infant-only wake bouts. Results: Most mothers (69.5%) reported typically feeding their infants to sleep at bedtime; 27.1% reported typically putting infants to bed while still awake. Parenting practices associated with a greater proportion and frequency of infant-only wake bouts included not typically feeding infants to sleep during night wakings, putting infants to bed while still awake (at 24 weeks of age), and using a greater proportion of low-, rather than high-, stimulus soothing strategies during night wakings. Conclusion: These data suggest parenting practices, such as putting infants to bed when drowsy but still awake, are important strategies for promoting infant self-soothing during night wakings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalSleep Medicine
StatePublished - Jul 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Sleep parenting practices are associated with infant self-soothing behaviors when measured using actigraphy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this