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Open Access The Effect of Feeding Method on Sleep Duration, Maternal Well-being, and Postpartum Depression

When a breastfeeding mother is depressed--or even at risk for depression--she is often advised to supplement with formula so that she can get more sleep. Results of recent studies suggest, however, that exclusively breastfeeding mothers actually get more sleep than their mixed- or formula-feeding counterparts. The present study examines the relationship between feeding method, maternal well-being, and postpartum depression in a sample of 6,410 mothers of infants 0-12 months of age. Our findings revealed that women who were breastfeeding reported significantly more hours of sleep, better physical health, more energy, and lower rates of depression than mixed- or formula-feeding mothers. Further, there were no significant differences on any measure between mixed- and formula-feeding mothers, suggesting that breastfeeding is a qualitatively different experience than even mixed feeding.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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