Premature infants who cry excessively may be more likely to have behavioral problems at preschool age, according to a new report published online January 6, 2014, in Pediatrics.
Riikka Korja, PhD, from the Department of Child Psychiatry, Turku University Hospital, Finland, and colleagues found that early excessive crying, especially if it lasts up to 5 months of corrected age, is important to note because it may signal regulatory problems later, as well as an increased chance of parenting stress.
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.