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Title:Behavioral entrainment of human milk-fed infants' sleep patterns
Author(s):Pinilla, Teresa
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Birch, Leann L.
Department / Program:Human and Community Development
Discipline:Human and Community Development
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Developmental
Abstract:To investigate whether infants who were exclusively breast-fed could be taught to sleep through the night (defined from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.) from an early age, twenty- six first-time parents and their infants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: treatment and control. Treatment parents were instructed to offer a "focal feed" (between 10 p.m. and 12 a.m.) to their infants every night, to maximize environmental differences between day and nighttime, and to minimize their responses to the infants' middle of the night awakenings; parents in the control group were given no instructions. All parents kept 72-hour records of their infants' feeding and sleeping patterns every week from birth to eight weeks of age and completed several questionnaires: Hassles and Uplifts Scale, Marital Adjustment Test, Parental Efficacy Questionnaire, and Infant Temperament Questionnaire.
Treatment infants had significantly longer sleep episodes: 204 vs 150 minutes at 3 weeks and 287 vs 195 minutes at 8 weeks, and awoke less frequently at night. By 8 weeks, 100% of the treatment infants were sleeping through the night, compared to 23% of the control infants. The two groups had very similar patterns of human milk intake, although differences in the diurnal distribution of meals were observed. Treatment infants were feeding less frequently at night but compensated for the relatively long nighttime interval without a feed by consuming more milk in the early morning. Treatment parents experienced a greater sense of efficacy on specific parenting tasks and a greater intensity of uplifting events in their everyday life experiences. They rated their infants' temperament more favorably than control parents. No differences emerged between the groups in marital adjustment.
The results of this experiment demonstrate that parents may have a powerful influence on the development of their infants' sleep patterns. Breast-fed infants have been characterized as frequent night-wakers, often resulting in early termination of breast-feeding. These results show that parents can teach their infants from a very early age to lengthen their nighttime sleeping bouts, making the continuation of breast-feeding easier for the new mother.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Pinilla, Teresa
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9236570
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9236570

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