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Many babies don't sleep through the night as soon as parents expect, study says

"If there was only one thing I could tell parents, it would be do not worry if your infant does not sleep through the night at six months of age," the study's lead researcher, Marie-Hélène Pennestri told NBC News.

Many babies don't sleep through the night as soon as parents expect, study says

It's one of the most common, and often frustrating questions moms of infants hear: "Is she sleeping through the night?" But new research from McGill University suggests parents shouldn't worry if their child doesn't reach this milestone by six months of age or even a year old.

The study, to be published in the December edition of the medical journal Pediatrics, found a large percentage of developmentally normal, healthy babies don't sleep through the night by a year old, and are not at increased risk for delays in cognitive, language or motor development as a result.

"If there was only one thing I could tell parents, it would be do not worry if your infant does not sleep through the night at six months of age," the study's lead researcher, Marie-Hélène Pennestri told NBC News.

Sleeping through the night, also known as consolidating sleep, was defined in the study as six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. At six months of age, 38% of typically developing infants were not yet sleeping six consecutive hours at night, and more than half — 57% — weren't sleeping eight hours. At 12 months old, 28% of infants weren't yet sleeping six hours straight at night, and 43% weren't staying asleep for eight hours.

So if your baby isn't sleeping through the night you are not alone, mama.

One of the biggest takeaways from the study is dispelling the notion that interrupted sleep in the first year could cause developmental problems. "In the present sample of typically developing infants, we were unable to find any significant associations between sleeping through the night at 6 or 12 months of age and variations in mental or psychomotor development," the study concluded.

The researchers gleaned information from a longitudinal birth survey of mothers and their babies and followed the babies until they were three years old. They looked at surveys of parents of 388 infants aged up to six months, then checked in with 360 of them at 12 months.

While sleep undoubtedly plays a fundamental role in child development, total sleep, including naps, might be more important than getting eight consecutive hours, the researchers wrote.

Child development isn't the only concern however when examining infant sleep patterns. Some parents may worry that lack of sleep increases their risk of developing depression. While it's true that sleep is critical for mental health, the researchers also found no direct link between how often babies woke at night, and the mother's postnatal mood, but rather that overall sleep plays a bigger role.

A mom who is able to catch up on sleep and nap during the day for instance, may be less affected by sleep deprivation even if she is up frequently through the night.

"Maternal sleep deprivation is often invoked to support the introduction of early behavioral interventions, but it may be that mothers' expectations about being awakened at night along with the total number of hours they sleep over the course of a day are better predictors of maternal well-being," the study's authors wrote. "It is something that will need to be considered in future studies."

While it wasn't definitively clear to researchers why some babies slept long stretches and others didn't, the researchers did find that babies who were breastfed were more likely to wake up at least once during the night. "This association was present at six and 12 months of age as measured by both the 6-and 8-hour criteria. It's not clear why and more research is needed," the authors wrote, noting that breastfeeding offers many benefits for babies and mothers.

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14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

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This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

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Allover roller

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This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

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Kombucha making kit

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What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

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This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

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Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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