A Behavioral-Educational Intervention to Promote Maternal and Infant Sleep: A Pilot Randomized, Controlled Trial
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STUDY OBJECTIVES: Maternal and infant sleep are significant health concerns for postpartum families. The results of previously published studies have indicated that behavioral-educational strategies promote infant sleep, but these reports relied on parental report and did not include maternal sleep. This pilot study of a maternal-infant sleep intervention evaluated feasibility, acceptability, and effects on sleep and other outcomes in the early postpartum period. DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial with concealed-group allocation. SETTING: Hospital postpartum unit with home follow-up. PARTICIPANTS: First-time mothers and their infants randomly assigned to sleep intervention (n = 15) or control group (n = 15). INTERVENTIONS: The sleep intervention included a 45-minute meeting with a nurse to discuss sleep information and strategies, an 11-page booklet, and weekly phone contact to reinforce information and problem solve. The control group received a 10-minute meeting during which only maternal sleep hygiene and basic information about infant sleep were discussed, a 1-page pamphlet, and calls at weeks 3 and 5 to maintain contact without provision of advice. MEASUREMENT AND RESULTS: Questionnaires were completed at baseline and 6 weeks; sleep diaries and mother and infant actigraphy were completed at 6 weeks. The mothers in the sleep intervention group averaged 57 minutes more nighttime sleep, and fewer rated their sleep as a problem, as compared with the mothers in the control group. Infants in the sleep intervention group had fewer nighttime awakenings and had maximum lengths of nighttime sleep that were, on average, 46 minutes longer than those in the control group. CONCLUSIONS: A behavioral-educational intervention with first-time mothers in the early postpartum period promotes maternal and infant sleep. Further evaluation of the intervention in a larger, more diverse sample is needed.
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