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J Hum Lact. 1998 Sep;14(3):219-29.

Maternal fatigue in breastfeeding primiparae during the first nine weeks postpartum.

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  • 1University of Kansas School of Nursing, Kansas City 66160-7502, USA.


This pilot study documented maternal fatigue levels and patterns among breastfeeding primiparae; relationships between maternal fatigue and select physiological, psychological, situational, and performance factors; and fatigue interference with activities of daily living. A convenience sample of 41 mothers completed self-report instruments measuring breastfeeding experiences, fatigue, sleep characteristics, perceived stress, depression, and infant temperament at 3 days, 3, 6, and 9 weeks postpartum. Positive moderate relationships were detected at all four times for: breastfeeding problem severity (r = .38-.66, p < .05), depression (r = .45-.71, p < .01), and perceived stress (r = .36-.70, p < .05). Maternal sleep disturbance (r = .40-.54, p < .05) and/or effectiveness (r = -.33-.45, p < .05) correlated with fatigue at each time period. Infant difficulty was positively and mildly related to fatigue at 6 and 9 weeks (r = .32-.43, p < .05). Maternal age correlated positively and moderately to fatigue (r = .31-.50, p < .05). Finally, the impact of fatigue on activities of daily living and maternal role activities was low and nonsignificant. Results suggest fatigue is moderately significant to breastfeeding primiparae in the early to late postpartum period.

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