(HealthDay News) – Early crying in preterm infants is associated with later child behavioral problems, and an education program can reduce postnatal depression symptoms as well as infant sleep and cry problems, according to two studies published online Jan. 6 in Pediatrics.
Riikka Korja, PhD, from Turku University in Finland, and colleagues examined how the early crying behavior of 202 low-birth-weight preterm infants at term, 6 weeks, and 5 months of corrected age correlated with subsequent child behavior and with parenting stress. The researchers found that the duration and frequency of crying in infancy correlated with Child Behavior Check List scores at age 4 and with maternal and paternal stress when the child was aged 2 and 4 years.
Harriet Hiscock, MBBS, MD, from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Parkville, Australia, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial involving 781 infants born at 32 weeks or later to assess a prevention program for infant sleep and cry problems and postnatal depression. Outcomes were compared for the intervention education program and well-child care. The researchers found that infant outcomes were similar between the groups. At infant age 6 months, the intervention caregivers were less likely than control caregivers to score >9 on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (adjusted odds ratio, 0.57). In the intervention group, at infant age 4 months, frequent feeders were less likely to have daytime sleep or cry problems (odds ratios, 0.13 and 0.27, respectively).
“An education program reduces postnatal depression symptoms, as well as sleep and cry problems in infants who are frequent feeders,” Hiscock and colleagues write.