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A behavioural infant sleep intervention resolved sleep problems

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QUESTION: How effective is a behavioural intervention (controlled crying) in reducing infant sleep problems and maternal depression?


Randomised (allocation concealed), blinded (healthcare providers, data collectors, outcome assessors, and data analysts), controlled trial with 4 months of follow up.


Maternal and child health centres in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Mothers of infants aged 6–12 months who participated in a survey about their infant’s sleep and their own wellbeing. Eligible mothers reported a problem with their infant’s sleep and ≥1 of waking >5 nights per week, waking >3 times per night, taking >30 minutes to fall asleep, or requiring parental presence to fall asleep during the past 2 weeks. Exclusion criteria included postnatal depression treatment, reported thoughts of self harm, and infants with a major medical or development problem. Follow up was 97% at 2 months and 94% at 4 months.


Mothers were stratified by presence of depression (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale [EPDS] score ≥12) and allocated to a behavioural …

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  • For correspondence: Dr H Hiscock, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. hiscockh{at}

  • Source of funding: National Health and Medical Research Council.