The first objective of this study was to determine how mother-infant sleep duration is related across the first 2 years of life. The second objective was to determine whether these relationships change across the first 2 years of life. The third objective was to understand demographic and health predictors of the relationship between maternal and child sleep.
Parents of 464 infants from the STRONG Kids 2 study reported their own and infants’ nocturnal sleep duration and other health information (i.e., breastfeeding) at 3, 12, 18, and 24 months postpartum.
Latent transition models revealed 2 mother-infant sleep profiles exist at 3 to 24 months. The low maternal sleep (LMS) pattern was characterized by lower maternal sleep duration than the recommended amount and lower infant sleep duration. The average maternal sleep (AMS) pattern was characterized by average maternal sleep duration meeting the recommended standard and average infant sleep duration. Approximately half of the mothers who started in the LMS profile transitioned to the AMS profile after 12 months postpartum. The sleep profiles stabilized after 12 months postpartum with limited transitions across 12 to 24 months. More infant-signaled nighttime wakings, later bedtimes, more infant sleep problems, and more exclusive breastfeeding were predictors of being in the LMS profile.
Mother-infant sleep profiles stabilized after age 12 months, and mother-infant sleep profiles are driven by infant sleep quality during the night. The findings suggest the need to establish a healthy sleep routine for mothers and infants in the first year of life to promote longer-term sleep hygiene.