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Sleep....we all need it to maintain our health and wellbeing....
We all know it can be difficult to get great sleep when you are a parent of young children.
I thought I would share some information about the latest research into Mother and Infant Sleep Research....read on to find out a few tips of which can help you and your baby to sleep and maintain optimal health and wellbeing.
1. Lavender Essential Oil and Quality of Postpartum Sleep
A recent study conducted in Iran involved assessing the effect of Essential Lavender Oil on the quality of maternal sleep during the post partum period. 158 mothers were randomly assigned to two groups. One group were given essential lavender oil to inhale when dropped onto cotton balls. They were advised to inhale the lavender oil for 10 deep breaths 4x/week prior to sleep. The lavender soaked cotton ball was then placed by their pillow whilst they slept.
The second group were given a placebo to inhale instead of the lavender oil.
The two groups were examined pre and post intervention using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index which was completed prior to intervention and the fourth and 8th week post intervention.
Pre intervention scores displayed no significant differences in maternal sleep from either group. However, 8 weeks post intervention, there were statistically significant improvements in the quality of maternal sleep!
MILK EARLY PARENTING SUPPORT TIP:
If you know a mum who has a new bub, don't forget to pop some Essential Lavender Oil into their gift hamper and tell them about how Lavender Oil can help improve their health and wellbeing after baby arrives!
2. New parents, sleep deprivation and driving
72 parents enrolled into a preliminary study at Michael Aldrich Sleep Disorders Laboratory, University of Michigan. This study involved a cross sectional anonymous questionnaire to parents of infants under the age of 12 months.
Participants were asked about their sleep, including validated measures of sleep disruption, their driving patterns, and information about near miss traffic accidents and actual crashes.
30 % of parents reported daytime sleepiness, 60 % with poor daytime function and two-thirds with poor sleep quality. Average sleep duration of these parents was 6.4 hours.
22.2 % reported at least one near miss accident and 5.6 % reported a crash. Sleep problems were more common in those with near miss accidents and actual crashes than in those without.
Researchers have found that poor sleep quality was associated with a sixfold increase in near miss accidents even after accounting for other factors.
This preliminary research has identified that parents with infants under the age of 12 months are a high risk population for sleep disruption and that poor sleep quality is associated with a sixfold increase in near miss accidents.
Raising public awareness that new parents are a high-risk group is important for all of us to know about. We need to be educating parents about these risks and providing optimum support to young families who are experiencing poor sleep.
MILK EARLY PARENTING SUPPORT TIP:
*Offer help with household chores such as cleaning and meal preparation
*Offer new parents an opportunity to have a rest during the day whilst you look after their child/children for the afternoon or morning.
*Encourage new parents to not take on too much from day to day to minimise overwhelm
*Offer carpooling opportunities for kinder, school and after school activity drop offs
3. Maternal anxiety & depressive disorders: specific relations to infants' crying, feeding and sleeping problems.
It has long been known, that maternal depression has been associated with excessive infant crying, feeding and sleeping problems.
However, it remains unknown that a history of pre pregnancy anxiety and depression have an associated impact on pre and postnatal depression & anxiety and infant's crying, feeding and sleeping problems.
306 mothers were involved in the study where they were interviewed during pregnancy and up to 16 months after giving birth. This study involved first time mums and those who have already had children as well. They were interviewed about excessive infant crying, feeding and sleeping problems
This study found that:
*10.1% of mothers with pre-existing anxiety reported excessive infant crying
*36.4% of first time mothers with a history of depression and anxiety reported feeding problems
*12.2% of mothers with a history of both depression and anxiety reported Infant sleeping problems regardless of whether they were first time mothers or not.
This study tells us that mothers with a history of anxiety and/or depression are more likely to have anxious misinterpretations of crying and feeding situations.
The relation between maternal depression and infant sleeping problems may be better explained by a transmission of unsettled maternal sleep to the fetus during pregnancy or a lack of daily structure and bedtime routine with the infant.
MILK EARLY PARENTING SUPPORT TIP:
It has been estimated that 100,000 parents are affected by perinatal depression and anxiety. The Australian Bureau of Statistics report that 299 697 babies were born in 2014.
This indicates that:
One third of young families are affected by depression and anxiety, who need all the support that they can get to help them cope with the challenges of life with children under the age of 2 years.
To the parents of young children:
1. Know that you are not alone
2. Don't be afraid to ask for help, because you need it and it is OK to ask for help
3. Being a parent can be isolating at some times more so than others. Make sure that you keep the communication lines open with your support networks so that your community of friends and family can support you to help make life just that little bit easier when you are finding it tough.
They may be able to help out by arranging play dates with your other children, kinder/school drop offs, household tasks, dropping off a meal or dessert, or even just to have a chat to can make all the difference!
There are many confidential parenting support services available, save these to your phone:
MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH INFORMATION LINE:
24 hours/7 days/week
PH: 13 22 29
PH: 1300 22 4636
Emotional support & counselling, 24 hours/7 days a week
PH: 1300 30 1300
Parenting Guidance and Support
7 days a week, between 8am and 10pm.
PH: 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 268)
7 days a week. It is staffed by trained, volunteer counsellors who answer calls on a roster system in their own homes.
PERINATAL & ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION ASSOCIATION (PANDA)
Mon to Fri, 10am - 5pm
PH: 1300 726 30
AFTER HOURS GP HOME VISITING (Bulk Billed)
PH: 1300 7425
Monday - Friday from 4PM
Saturday from 10AM
All day - Sunday & Public Holidays
1. Keshavarz Afshar M, Behboodi Moghadam Z, Taghizadeh Z, Bekhradi R, Montazeri A, Mokhtari P. Lavender fragrance essential oil and the quality of sleep in postpartum women. Iran Crescent Medical Journal. 2015 Apr 25;17(4)
2. Malish S, Arastu F, O'Brien LM. A Preliminary Study of New Parents, Sleep Disruption, and Driving: A Population at Risk? Maternal and Child Health Journal. 2015 Nov 5. [Epub ahead of print]
3. Petzoldt J, Wittchen HU, Einsle F, Martini J. Maternal anxiety versus depressive disorders: specific relations to infants' crying, feeding and sleeping problems. Child Care Health Development Journal. 2015 Oct 22. doi: 10.1111/cch.12292. [Epub ahead of print]
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Kellie Eason RN, RM, IBCLC
Nurse, Midwife, IBCLC, Infant Feeding Therapist, Birth & Parenting Educator, Baby Sleep & Settling Consultant