Cultural Influences on Infant Sleep

Author / Instructor: Michael P. Cronin
Jurisdiction: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands (U.S.), Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Course Number: 7146
CEU Hours: 4
Course Method: Online
Amount: $32
Active: Yes

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to:


  • Identify what constitutes “normal, healthy and desirable” infant sleep


  • When was the importance of local cultural influences values on infant and childhood sleep first discovered and by whom


  • Describe the critical relationship between the cultural ideologies that underlie sleep practices and desired developmental outcomes


  • What are the conventional western understandings of “Healthy, Normal” Infant and Childhood Sleep



“…we try to keep in mind cultural influences on the advice we give. We remind ourselves that much of  what comes to the pediatrician’s attention, as problematic sleep behavior–children who have difficulty falling asleep alone at bedtime, who wake at night and ask for parental attention, or who continue to nurse at night–is problematic only in relation to our society’s expectations, rather than to some more general standard of what constitutes difficult behavior in the young child. Our pediatric advice on transitional objects, breastfeeding, co-sleeping may be unknowingly biased toward traditional Euroamerican views of childrearing, especially those about bedtime and nighttime behavior. Thus, in giving advice about sleep, pediatric health professionals might do well to be aware of their own cultural values, to examine closely their patients cultural and family contexts, and to assess parental reactions to children’s sleep behaviors”