Sandtrø, Kari Glavin, Hege Therese Størksen, Marianne Therese Smogli Holter, Filip Drozd
Studien er publisert i Journal of Clinical Nursing
Aim and objective: The aim of this study was to explore mothers' and public health nurses' (PHN) experiences with sleep problems in children aged 6 months to 3 years in Norway.
Background: Sleep problems in children are common, affecting their health and development, and their mothers' well-being. It is also the primary reason parents seek help in well-child clinics (WCC). However, there is limited knowledge regarding the experiences of these mothers and the public health nurses who consult them.
Design: Qualitative design.
Methods: Four semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted: two with mothers (n = 14) who had children with sleep problems and two with public health nurses (n = 14) from well-child clinics. The Framework Method was used for analysing the interviews of mothers. Data from public health nurses were charted onto the analytical framework of maternal data to understand how or whether public health nurses addressed the issues raised by mothers. The study is reported according to the COREQ checklist.
Result: The analysis resulted in two main themes: 'therapeutic alliance' (categories 'alliance ruptures' and 'demanding negotiation process') and 'reorganisation of identity' (categories 'unfulfilled expectations' and 'internal tension conflicts').
Conclusion: Young children's sleep problems present challenges to new mothers due to failed expectations, negatively affecting their feelings as mothers and towards their children, and consequently the reorganising of maternal identity. Most mothers experienced unsatisfactory therapeutic alliances while seeking help from public health nurses because advice was considered overly general, contradictory and unsafe for their children. Public health nurses were mostly aware of the parental consequences of children's sleep problems, but many appeared unable to help because of limited time and knowledge.
Relevance to clinical practice: Public health nurses need to establish a therapeutic alliance and provide evidence-based knowledge and guidance on sleep problems while also considering women's reorganisation of identity when becoming mothers.