Research Projects Using Growing Up Data

Associations between parent-infant bed-sharing, breastfeeding, infants exposure to screens and infant sleep outcomes

Publication Date:
Lead Organisation:
University of Auckland
Lead Researcher:
Maria Corkin
Access Type:
Primary Classification:
Family and Whanau
Secondary Classification:

Aim: To investigate the relative contributions of three parenting practices to infants’ sleep duration and frequency of night wakings: 1) bed-sharing during infancy (on the same sleeping surface as parents), 2) breastfeeding during infancy and 3) infant screen time.

Rationale: Higher quality of sleep during infancy is associated with multiple benefits for children (e.g. cognition and language ability, and reduced incidence of behavioural and emotional problems) as well as better mental wellbeing and functioning for parents.

Although bedsharing, breastfeeding and infants’ screen time have each associated with infant sleep duration and quality, to date, these variables have not been investigated together within the same study; nor have there been any studies examining these three factors conducted in a multi-cultural society, such as New Zealand, in which bed-sharing is commonplace.

The proposed study will utilise a hybrid longitudinal and cross-sectional design to examine whether sleeping arrangements in early infancy (measured at 6 weeks), fully breastfeeding or not (measured at 9 months), and screen time at 2 years, are associated with a) sleep duration in a 24-hour period, and b) frequency of night wakings, at 2 years. Results will be stratified by ethnicity, as variations in the way that co-sleeping is practised within ethnic groups in New Zealand may influence the relationships between co-sleeping and infant sleep outcomes.

The research outputs will include a research paper that will be submitted for publication and a research proposal that will build on and develop the current proposed research and for which funding can be sought.