A study of night waking and infant crying : "What do I do to stop baby crying?" : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masterate in Education at Massey University

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Massey University
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This study investigates maternal responses to night waking and infant crying. It illustrates differences in the degree and the type of mothering that is practised with relation to (i) previous mothering experience (ii) prior and immediate circumstances surrounding the baby's cry, and (iii) educational level of the mother. Two groups of mothers were interviewed: a primiparous group and a multiparous group. All mothers had babies between three and twelve weeks of age at the time of the interview. Mothers were from the Palmerston North area and surrounding environs, and were classified according to family socio-economic level, mother's education and number of other children. All mothers were given a similar interview to obtain information on (i) feeding style, i.e. breast or bottle (ii) amount of attention baby needs at night (iii) degree of grizzliness found in baby (iv) amount of help father gives (v) general health and temperament of baby (vi) ethnic group of mother and father (vii) what mother would do when baby wakes up and cries at night (viii) mother's attitude to spoiling the baby. In order to assess what mother does when baby wakes at night, four Vignettes were prepared to hypothesis four feeding states. Each Vignette was followed by questions on what mother would do when baby cried, and how soon she would do it. A chi-square test was applied to assess the significance of the difference between the scores of multiparous and primiparous mothers. Observations from this survey show differences in waiting times with relation to the experience of the mother, and differences in response styles to cope with baby crying at night with relation to (i) mothering experience (ii) amount of time given to attending to basic physical or social needs (iii) amount of time repeatedly spent attending to basic physical needs, and differences in feeding style with relation to the educational level of the mother. Results of some earlier surveys are reinforced, and recommendations are made for future work on this topic.
Mother child, Crying, Infants Sleep