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Using Formula May Not Help New Moms Sleep Better

Several sleep-related parameters are similar in women who formula-feed or breast-feed

MONDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- New mothers who use formula to feed their infants, as opposed to breast-feeding, may not get better sleep, according to research published online Nov. 8 in Pediatrics.

Hawley E. Montgomery-Downs, Ph.D., of West Virginia University in Morgantown, and colleagues analyzed data from 80 mothers during postpartum weeks two through 12. Participants wore wrist actigraphs to record sleep measures, and they reported whether they breast-fed, used formula, or provided a combination of the two.

The researchers found that a variety of sleep-related parameters were similar between women who breast-fed or provided formula exclusively or used a combination of both methods. These parameters included total sleep time, sleep efficiency, reported number of awakenings, sleep quality, and sleepiness or fatigue.

"Efforts to encourage women to breast-feed, as currently endorsed enthusiastically by the American Academy of Pediatrics, should include information about sleep. Specifically, women should be told that a choice to formula-feed does not necessarily equate with improved sleep. The risks of not breast-feeding should be weighed against the cumulative lack of evidence showing any benefit of formula-feeding on maternal sleep," the authors conclude.

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