A study, entitled Evaluation of an Intervention Aimed at Resolving Behavioural Sleep Problems in 6- to 12-month-old Infants: A Pilot Study, was undertaken to evaluate the efficacy of a behavioural sleep intervention. This descriptive qualitative study aimed to describe parents' perceptions of the sleep intervention and any burden associated with participating in the study.
Fourteen of the 35 families who had participated in the quantitative study were interviewed. Respondents comprised well-educated, middle-class and mixed-ethnicity families. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, with open-ended trigger questions, and were analysed using inductive content analysis.
Nine themes, which subsumed a number of categories, were constructed. Parents changed their perspectives about sleep and parenting styles; they experienced many challenges and inadvertent benefits; and they welcomed a structured framework for assisting with sleep problems. The parents fitted intervention strategies into their realities; many factors interfered with their success; and their support systems and their expectations of the study varied.
These parents' previous education about normal infant sleep cycles and behavioural sleep problems was inadequate. The parents who were able to use the structured framework, flexible strategies and access to healthcare professionals for problem solving not only excelled in resolving their infants' sleep problems, but also gained confidence about their parenting skills and success.