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Vol. 10 - Num. 38

Original Papers

Correct sleeping habits compatible with on demand breastfeeding

Eduard Estivill Sanchoa, C Estivill Doménechb, N Roure Miróc, F Segarra Iserna, J Albares Tenderod, M Pascual Doménechc

aClínica del Son Estivill. USP. Institut Universitari Dexeus de Barcelona y Unidad del Sueño del Hospital General de Catalunya. España.
bDepartamento de Química Orgánica. Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. España.
cClínica del Son Estivill. USP. Institut Universitari Dexeus de Barcelona. España.
dGrupo de Cronobiología de la Sociedad Española de Sueño.Clínica del Sueño Dr. Estivill. Barcelona. España.

Correspondence: E Estivill. E-mail:

Reference of this article: Estivill Sancho E, Estivill Doménech C, Roure Miró N, Segarra Isern F, Albares Tendero J, Pascual Doménech M. Correct sleeping habits compatible with on demand breastfeeding. Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria. 2008;10:207-16.

Published in Internet: 30-06-2008 - Visits: 9402


Introduction: the objective of the study was to observe the synchronization of the sleepwakefulness cycle. The experiment was carried out on a boy breastfed on demand, from birth until 6 months of age. Parents used consistent behavioural routines that encouraged good sleep patterns. This finding could motivate a greater number of mothers to breastfeed their children since these norms would help to consolidate the circadian rhythm of wakefulness-sleep.

Material and methods: a complete diary of wakefulness-sleep in one newborn was kept from birth to the 6 months of age. Daily data referred to the time of wakefulness, sleep, feeding, bowel movements and hygiene (baths and diaper changes) were registered. Data were entered every 7 days until 18 months of age.

Results: during week 1 to 7, a highly irregular sleeping and feeding rhythm was observed. At 11 weeks the baby was sleeping 8 hours during the night. From 18 to 20 weeks, the number of hours slept increased rapidly, with the child sleeping an average of 10.52 hours. From week 21 to 35 the average was 11.26 hours. The circadian rhythm of wakefulness-sleep is shown for the first time between weeks 15 and 16 (three and a half months) and has continued to be well established until the present time (18 months).

Conclusion: breastfeeding on demand did not create at any moment a difficulty in obtaining the correct synchronization of the wakefulness-sleep, starting at 3 and one-half months. The behavioural norms the parents followed during breastfeeding obtained the objective: to feed the boy exclusively with mother?s milk and to obtain a stable synchronization of the wakefulness- sleep rate. Our work can help in achieving two objectives: first, to encourage breastfeeding, and second to prevent sleep problems by implementing the proposed norms.


Breastfeeding Circadian rhythm Newborn infant Sleep

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