Sleep SAAF Responsive Parenting Intervention for Black Mothers Impacts Response to Infant Crying: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Emily E Hohman, Jennifer S Savage, Brian K Stansfield, Justin A Lavner

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OBJECTIVE: Many parents use food to soothe their infant, regardless of infant hunger, which can increase risk for rapid weight gain. Interventions promoting alternative soothing strategies may help parents respond more appropriately to crying. This secondary analysis aimed to examine effects of the Sleep SAAF (Strong African American Families) responsive parenting (RP) intervention on maternal responses to infant crying and to explore moderating effects of infant negativity.

METHODS: Primiparous Black mothers (n = 212) were randomized to an RP or safety control intervention, delivered during home visits at 3 and 8 weeks postpartum. Parents were empowered to first use non-food soothing strategies (eg, white noise, swaddling) when responding to crying. Mothers completed the Babies Need Soothing questionnaire at 8 and 16 weeks, and the Infant Behavior Questionnaire at 16 weeks. Data were analyzed using linear or logistic regression.

RESULTS: RP mothers were significantly more likely than controls to use shushing/white noise to soothe their infant at 8 (OR = 4.9, 95% CI: 2.2-10.6) and 16 weeks (OR = 4.8, 95% CI: 2.2-10.5), to go for a walk in stroller/ride in car at 8 weeks (OR = 2.3, 95% CI: 1.2-4.6), and to swing/rock/bounce their infant at 16 weeks (OR = 5.5, 95% CI: 1.2-25.7). RP mothers also reported significantly more frequent use of deep breathing, exercising, and bathing/showering than controls when frustrated with crying. Infant negativity moderated some intervention effects such that the RP intervention was more effective at increasing use of some soothing practices among mothers with less negative infants.

CONCLUSIONS: An RP intervention positively impacted first-time Black mothers' responses to infant crying.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAcademic Pediatrics
StateE-pub ahead of print - May 5 2023

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