Infant and mother sleep patterns during 4th postpartum week

Issues Compr Pediatr Nurs. Apr-Jun 1997;20(2):115-23. doi: 10.3109/01460869709026882.


Using modified Barnard and Eyres (1979) Sleep/Activity Records, 44 mothers recorded diurnal sleep and awake times for themselves and their infants during the 4th week postpartum. Independent two-way analyses of variance, using a two-factor design (3a x 2b), compared data from each mother and each infant. Independent variables were (a) parity groups (mothers feeding their first, second, or third infant) and (b) feeding method (breast vs. bottle). A statistically significant difference (alpha = .05) was apparent between breast-fed and bottle-fed babies regarding the number of awakenings and the hours of night sleep, with breast-fed babies awakening more and sleeping less at night. But there was no statistically significant difference in the hours of total sleep diurnally. Mothers exhibited corresponding differences in sleep patterns, with a statistically significant increase in night waking for breast-feeding mothers. Infants in this study averaged 14.6 hr of sleep in 24 hr, which is in contrast to the 15.5 to 17.3 hr of sleep commonly reported in nursing texts based on studies from the 1960s.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bottle Feeding
  • Breast Feeding
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn / physiology*
  • Mothers*
  • Postpartum Period / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Time Factors