The importance of sleep and parity in understanding changes in weight and breastfeeding behavior among postpartum women

Diane L. Rosenbaum, Meghan M. Gillen, Charlotte H. Markey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Breastfeeding duration has been linked with the health of both women and their children, but research that considers women's weight change postpartum and practical factors that may impact their quality of life (i.e., sleep quantity, number of children) is limited. Method: A survey was administered to 568 women (M age = 31.32 years; SD = 4.21) who had given birth within the past year. The survey included assessments of pre- and post-pregnancy weight and height, breastfeeding practices, current sleep quantity, presence of breastfeeding-specific support, and other demographics including their total number of children. Results: Greater pre-pregnancy to postpartum weight increase was related to shorter duration of breastfeeding. Mothers who exclusively breastfed for the first six months had less postpartum weight increase (i.e., the discrepancy between their pre-pregnancy and post-pregnancy weight was smaller) than those who did not. Fewer children and greater hours of sleep were significantly associated with longer duration of breastfeeding. Sleep partially accounted for the relationship between body mass index change and breastfeeding duration. Breastfeeding-specific support did not impact the effect of low sleep on shorter breastfeeding duration. Conclusions: Duration of breastfeeding may suffer due to fatigue. Sleep plays a key role in understanding the ways in which weight change impact breastfeeding behavior. Greater holistic support for mothers in the postpartum period is needed to foster an environment that encourages breastfeeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105889
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'The importance of sleep and parity in understanding changes in weight and breastfeeding behavior among postpartum women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this