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Responsive parenting and Black mothers' postpartum sleep: Secondary analysis of an randomized controlled trial.

OBJECTIVE: To determine if an intervention designed to enhance early responsive parenting (RP) practices (e.g., reading infant cues, establishing bedtime routines) and promote infant sleep and soothing among Black families has secondary benefits for mothers' postpartum sleep.

METHOD: This preregistered secondary analysis of the Sleep Strong African American Families randomized controlled trial investigated effects of an RP intervention versus a safety control condition on self-reported maternal sleep difficulties at 8 and 16 weeks postpartum and on actigraph-measured maternal sleep at 8 weeks postpartum.

RESULTS: The 212 randomized mothers were Black/African American (100%) and non-Hispanic (98.6%) and averaged 22.7 years ( SD = 4.5) of age. Among 138 mothers with useable actigraph data, RP mothers had a mean 20 [95% CI: 2, 37] minutes longer actigraph-measured total sleep time than controls at 8 weeks postpartum, after adjusting for age and other covariates likely to influence mothers' sleep ( p = .04). Participation in the RP intervention did not significantly impact self-reported sleep difficulties or other actigraph-measured sleep parameters (e.g., efficiency) in either unadjusted or adjusted models, although RP effects on sleep difficulties and sleep efficiency were in the hypothesized directions.

CONCLUSIONS: Interventions supporting responsive sleep parenting practices to increase infant sleep may also help first-time Black mothers get more sleep themselves during the postpartum period, even without an explicit focus on maternal sleep strategies. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2024 APA, all rights reserved).

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