Every new parent knows that their sleep suffers when they have children, and there’s evidence that may not get better for a while. However, a study led by Marie-Hélène Pennestri, an assistant professor in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, on parents and sleep, showed no association between interrupted sleep and later cognitive or physical development problems.
Her research showed that among 44 six-month-old infants, sleeping patterns varied greatly during a two-week period, with half the mothers reporting that their infants never slept eight consecutive hours and 20% reporting their infants didn’t even sleep six consecutive hours.
Pennestri says her research has shown her that sleeping through the night clearly can take longer than six – and maybe even 12 – months in some babies. “Let’s lower parents’ expectations and view sleep as a developmental process, and let’s stop comparing infants,” says Pennestri. “We know there’s variability among infants when it comes to sleep. There is also variability from night to night, and this is totally normal.”
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