Recorded Webinar: The Effects of Depression and PTSD on Mother-Infant Sleep by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett

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Product Overview

*This course has been approved for 1.5 R-CERPs by the IBLCE

Approval number: C2002008

Length: 1 hour, 11 mins


This product is a recording of a session made January 7th 2020. Direct questions and concerns to


The Effect of Depression and PTSD on Mother-Infant Sleep

Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC, FAPA

Can mothers’ mental state affect how mothers and babies sleep? This seminar examines the impact of maternal depression and PTSD on mother-infant sleep. If mothers have depression or PTSD during pregnancy, if affects their babies’ sleep, but other factors moderate those effects. Breastfeeding also affects mother-infant sleep, but there are substantial differences in these effects between exclusive and partial breastfeeding. Infant sleep location adds one more factor that outcomes for both mothers and babies. The message of this presentation is this: maternal mental health does impact both mothers’ and babies’ sleep and it can make breastfeeding more difficult. However, mothers can overcome these effects and breastfeeding is one important way to modify the physiological effects of depression and trauma.



1.     Describe the bidirectional and intergenerational effects of mothers’ mental health on mother-infant sleep.

2.     Describe the specific effects of depression on mother-infant sleep and the factors that modify those effects.

3.     Describe the effects of maternal PTSD on mother-infant sleep and the role of breastfeeding in      downregulating those effects.

4.     Understand that mother-baby separation will likely not be effective in helping both mothers and babies to sleep.


A.     The relationship between mothers’ mental health and mother-infant sleep.   

a.     Bidirectional relationship
b.     Relationship to intergenerational transmission of trauma

B.     The impact of maternal depression

a.     The effect of depression on maternal sleep
b.     In utero effects on infant sleep
c.     Modifying effects of breastfeeding on sleep and depression
d.     The role of infant sleep location

C.     The impact of maternal PTSD

a.     The impact on sleep
b.     In utero effects on infant sleep and inflammation
c.     The impact of breastfeeding on trauma symptoms for mother and baby

D.    Should mother and baby be separated in order to get more sleep?
a.     The importance of downregulation




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