OD5 Identifying, supporting, and predicting outcomes for infants with sleeping, crying and/or feeding problems (dysregulated infants)


Dysregulated infants present with persistent sleeping, crying and/or feeding difficulties. Research indicates these infants have increased risk for poorer mental health outcomes during childhood. Little is known about whether dysregulated infants may be vulnerable to other poor outcomes during childhood. This symposium will bring together new research from three continents to examine predictors, outcomes, and intervention implications for dysregulated infants. We will present new findings on key prenatal factors that are associated with infant sleep problems, and data from parent interviews that will help us consider how to meaningfully support parents of infants with regulatory problems. Dr Bilgin will begin by presenting evidence that infant regulatory problems have an indirect association with adolescent psychopathology via increased childhood internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Dr Conway will describe evidence that dysregulated infants have increased risk for poorer language development at ages 5 and 11 years, and poorer academic achievement by grade 5. Dr Cook will discuss findings that indicate poor maternal pre and postnatal physical and mental health is associated with persistent severe infant sleep problems and increased report of intimate partner violence. Finally, Dr Keys will discuss results from a thematic analysis of interviews with parents of dysregulated infants, presenting data on parent experiences and perceptions of navigating infant sleep difficulties. Drawing together these findings, the audience and presenters will be encouraged to consider: (1) what strategies might be included in new prevention or early intervention efforts for dysregulated infants, (2) what approaches may help families to engage in these interventions, and (3) what the aim and scope of future infant regulation research should be.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this CME activity, participants should be able to:

      • Identify perinatal factors associated with increased risk for infant sleep difficulties
      • Assess the nature of parents' experiences navigating infant sleep difficulties
      • Identify the indirect association between infant dysregulation and adolescent psychopathology
      • Recognize that dysregulated infants are more likely to experience poorer language development across childhood
      • Recognize that infant regulation problems mark the beginning of a poorer developmental trajectory for some children

Target Audience

Practitioners, researchers, academics


Fallon Cook (Australia)

Associations between infant regulatory problems, childhood co-developing internalizing and externalizing trajectories, and adolescent psychopathology

Ayten Bilgin (United Kingdom)

Associations between infant regulation, child language development and academic achievement in a longitudinal cohort

Laura Conway (Australia)

Profiles and predictors of infant sleep problems across the first year

Fallon Cook (Australia)

Parental experiences and perceptions of infant sleep difficulties; Considerations for parenting interventions

Elizabeth Keys (Canada)

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