A mixed-method examination of maternal and paternal nocturnal caregiving

Salvatore P. Insana, Craig F. Garfield, Hawley E. Montgomery-Downs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objectives: The study objectives were to describe and compare causes of, and activities during, postpartum parents' nocturnal awakenings. Methods: Twenty-one primiparous postpartum couples were studied for 1 week with qualitative and quantitative methods. Results: Mothers reported more awakenings per night (3.3 ± 1.1) and more wake time after going to sleep (116.0 ± 60.0 minutes) compared to fathers (2.4 ± 0.5 and 42.7 ± 39.4 minutes, respectively). "Actions taken" during maternal nocturnal awakenings were primarily for infant feeding (49.0%), general infant care (18.5%), and infant changing (12.0%). "Actions taken" during paternal nocturnal awakenings were primarily "passive awakenings" (35.9%), for self-care (18.4%), and for infant feeding (9.4%). Conclusions: Qualitative analyses revealed ways that new families can optimize the sleep of both parents while also providing optimal nocturnal infant care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pediatric Health Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Child care
  • Family
  • Maternal
  • Paternal
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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