Gentle Aussie sleep program helps babies and mums

Parenting journey 'transformed' by Possums approach, study finds

A new Brisbane-based program is helping first-time parents understand their infant's sleep patterns — and get better sleep themselves, researchers say.

After completing the Possums infant sleep program, parents report less stress, less concern about sleep problems such as night waking and daytime naps, and better quality of life, the study authors report in the journal Sleep Health.

Lead author Professor Helen Ball says disrupted sleep patterns can affect a parent's mental health.

"Most of us struggle with sleep disruption when our babies' sleep patterns aren't aligned with our own, and parents can become quite anxious and have a low mood," says Professor Ball of Durham University's Parent-Infant Sleep Lab in the UK.

The Possums program educates parents about their expectations regarding normal infant sleep and encourages them to experiment with strategies.