First time fathers' cognitions and beliefs about infant sleep: A qualitative study of their lived experience
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Paternal involvement in infant sleep is increasing as fathers have become more involved in the daily care of their infants over the past three decades (Coleman & Garfield, 2004). The cognitions and beliefs about infant sleep that are held by fathers, particularly first time fathers, influence their behavior during infant sleep interactions. Interactions related to infant sleep present opportunities for attachments to form and the father-infant attachments that are formed in infancy impact emotional development in early childhood, adolescence, and adulthood (Bogels & Phares, 2008). Research investigating paternal cognitions and beliefs about infant sleep is limited due to the fact that most research about infant sleep involves maternal cognitions and beliefs. This qualitative study investigated what first time fathers believe about infant sleep and how their cognitions and beliefs about infant sleep influence their behaviors related to infant sleep. The findings of this study will add to the body of knowledge about infant sleep as well as provide information to parents and parenting educators that can modify early parental cognitions and beliefs about infant sleep.