Objective. To compare two interventions (supplementary carrying, increased parental responsiveness) introduced from birth for their effectiveness in reducing the amounts of crying in general community infants at 2, 6, and 12 weeks age.
Design and participants. Mothers and infants in newborn wards of maternity hospitals were assigned to carrying intervention, responsiveness intervention, or control groups. Follow-up measures were used to confirm that the interventions were implemented and to determine their effects on infant crying.
Setting and measurements. Diary measurements completed in the home were employed to measure the aspects of parental behavior targeted by the interventions. Audio recordings, diaries, and questionnaires assessed the amounts the infants cried and the impact of the crying on their mothers and the health services. Sample sizes at 6 weeks of age were 59 (carrying intervention), 57 (responsiveness intervention), and 94 infants (control group).
Results. The carrying intervention successfully increased the amounts the infants were carried, particularly while settled, to the target levels. The responsiveness intervention led to more limited increases in carrying and to a modest increase in feeding frequency, but did not affect measures of parental interactiveness and play. No differences in amounts of crying and fussing were found between the three groups of infants on any of the measures. Subsidiary analyses confirmed that the dependent variable (infant fuss\crying) and main independent variable (carrying while settled) were not significantly correlated.
Conclusions. It is not, at present, possible to recommend either supplementery carrying or increased parental responsiveness as primary, preventative interventions to reduce infant crying.
- Received January 5, 1994.
- Accepted June 29, 1994.
- Copyright © 1995 by the American Academy of Pediatrics