Infant sleep, parental sleep and parenting stress in families of mothers on maternity leave and in families of working mothers

Dana Sinai, Liat Tikotzky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the links between infants' sleep and their parents' sleep and to assess the links between infant/parent sleep and parenting stress. Furthermore, we explored whether the links between sleep and parenting stress are moderated by maternal leave status. Participants were 50 families with an infant between the ages of 4-5 months. Half of the mothers were on maternity leave while the others returned to work. Parents completed daily sleep logs about infants' and their own sleep for 4 consecutive nights. Each parent also completed the Parenting Stress Index. Infant sleep was associated with sleep of both mothers and fathers, but the correlations with maternal sleep were stronger. Parental perceptions of their infant's sleep as problematic were associated with higher parenting stress. Poorer infant and maternal sleep patterns were associated with parenting stress only in families with mothers on maternity leave, probably because these mothers need to provide intensive caregiving " around the clock" without sufficient opportunities to rest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2012

Keywords

  • Father
  • Infant
  • Maternity leave
  • Mother
  • Parenting stress
  • Sleep

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