REST Routine was based on a theoretical model that conceptualizes infant colic using a developmental psychobiological perspective. Colic, also referred to as irritable infant syndrome, is viewed as a delay or disturbance in the infant’s sleep-wake cycling. Colicky or irritable infants have a disorganized or undeveloped sleep-wake cycle that leads to excessive crying and difficulty initiating sleep. This behavior instability may be exacerbated by parental inconsistency and environmental disruptions.
From this framework, irritable infants are viewed as sensitive and more easily over-stimulated by busy chaotic environments. As they become overwhelmed and fatigued, they cannot self-soothe or reduce their arousal level sufficiently to fall asleep. Parents may actually reinforce the irritable behavior pattern by using inconsistent strategies that are not compatible with the infant’s unclear signals and erratic cues. To address these issues, REST Routine provided support for the parents and modification of the infant’s environmental care routines.