1. Baumgartel, Kelley PhD, RN
  2. Caplan, Erin MPH
  3. Glover, Carly BS
  4. Louis, Judette MD, MPH
  5. Schreiber, James PhD


Background: Sleep is essential for optimal health, and disturbed postpartum sleep is associated with compromised infant attachment. The postpartum experience of mothers with preterm infants is unlike the biological norm, as they are separated from their infants and often express breast milk.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility of conducting a clinical research study among women with hospitalized preterm infants. We also explored for associations between maternal sleep patterns and sleep-related psychological states and subsequent breast milk volume.


Methods: Participants were recruited from Magee-Womens Hospital, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania New mothers completed daily sleep and pumping logs and scales to measure stress, trauma, depression, fatigue, and sleep quality.


Results: A total of 78 women were screened, 18 women consented, and a total of 8 participants completed the study. Screening from the postpartum unit increased recruitment. The participants experience worsening sleep quality over time, moderate stress, and fatigue. Stress, postnatal depression, and fatigue are negatively associated with milk volume.


Implications for Practice and Research: Postpartum recruitment with frequent follow-ups improved recruitment and retention. We present a preliminary association between maternal stress, fatigue, and depression, and subsequent breast milk volume. Sleep-related psychological states may negatively influence milk volume.