The University of Massachusetts Amherst

The impact of sleep deprivation on human milk composition

Date Funded: 
May 1, 2019
Funding Organization: 
UManage Center for Building the Science of Symptom Self-Management, through the National Institute of Nursing Research

The purpose of Dr. Carrie-Ellen Briere's project is to explore the relationship between mothers’ sleep loss and human milk composition. If a relationship exists, interventions to improve the self-management of sleep loss and sleep deprivation in new mothers will be tested.

Little is known about the impact of sleep deprivation on human milk composition. Such knowledge is needed to support the importance of developing interventions of self-management of sleep hygiene in the postpartum period where nonaction might have negative health repercussions for mothers and infants.

This project posits that human milk composition is suboptimal under conditions of maternal sleep deprivation and this, in turn, could impair infant development, which may further enhance maternal stress. Therefore, the overarching hypothesis of this research is that better self-management of maternal sleep will improve human milk composition, and reduce signs of maternal stress. The secondary aims for this pilot study are to describe sleep patterns of breastfeeding mothers in the first four to six weeks postpartum and to analyze human milk composition longitudinally within and between mothers and evaluate potential associations with sleep loss.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P20NR016599. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official view of the National Institutes of Health.