Sleep patterns of infants with depressed Mothers differs

"sleep like a baby" by peasap @ flickr

"sleep like a baby" by peasap @ flickr

According to a study published today in the May 1 issue of the journal SLEEP, the patterns of sleep differ depending on Mom’s depression or lack there of. The overall amount of sleep seems to be the same but infants with non-depressed mothers sleep longer at night (up to 97 minutes to be precise) and also seem to sleep for longer periods during the day.

Infants of depressed moms seem to wake more often .

Researchers hypothesize that this is related to the stress hormone, cortisol. When mom is pregnant and stressed, more cortisol crosses the placenta. And if you’re depressed postpartum, that plays a role as well.

Now before you freak out and think that your child’s sleep patterns are wrecked for life here, the lead author, Roseanne Armitage, MD, has news for you. The “damage” may be reversible.

“We do think that we could develop a behavioral and environmental intervention to improve entrainment of sleep and circadian rhythms in the high risk infants,” said Armitage. “However, whether it is maternal hormones that “cause” the sleep problems in infants is not yet known. It could genetic, hormonal, or both. Regardless of the cause, they may still be modifiable since brain regulation is very plastic and responsive in childhood.”

If you’d like to read more about this study, click here.

Now, breathe a little sigh of relief. See? the fact that baby isn’t sleeping ISN’T because you’re not doing something right or wrong. It’s not because there’s something wrong with your baby. It’s hormonal. Totally out of your control. I don’t know about you, but I am always able to put things into a better perspective when I understand the explanation behind them.

Frankly, this explains a LOT.

It explains why my first daughter never wanted to sleep for very long and why she wouldn’t sleep a lot at night. It also explains why our second daughter did the same thing. And last but not least, because I did not have PPD with our third, it explains why he’s such an amazing sleeper and has been from the start. Thank GOD it wasn’t me (or baby)! Phew!


Maternal Depression-It’s not so black and white

Did you suffer from Postpartum Depression? Tell your story and help others. Join survivor of Postpartum Depression, Cynthia N Olkie, in sharing your story of PPD.

Cynthia is putting together a book that will feature the stories and photos of other PPD survivors in an effort to increase PPD awareness and services. A portion of the proceeds will go directly to Postpartum Support International (

Cynthia is looking for stories, maximum 650 words in length and written in the first person. It can be a narrative story or a poem. If selected and live within the Los Angeles area, Cynthia will do a complimentary photo session. Your story along with an artful image(s) from your photo session will be featured. In exchange for your submission, you will be given an 8×10 image of your choice and a copy of the image that is featured in the book. Not to mention, the satisfaction that you are helping other mothers and families that are struggling with postpartum depression.

Please submit your story and questions to: Cynthia has created a blog to chronicle her experience with getting this book off the ground and is open to all feedback.

Please visit the blog at :