Maternal Well-Being and Sleep-Wake Behaviors in Infants: An Intervention Using Maternal Odor

Beth L. Goodlin-Jones, Lisa A. Eiben, Thomas F. Anders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The development of an organized sleep-wake cycle in young infants is influenced by characteristics of both the infant and the parent, and by the nature of their dyadic interaction. Sleep-wake state organization is influenced first by homeostatic biological regulation, and later by socioemotional regulation. This report describes a feasibility study using an olfactory intervention designed to bridge the transition from physiologic to social regulation in sleep-wake state organization. A sample of 21 mother-infant dyads participated in an one year longitudinal study, after random assignment to either an experimental condition with a maternal odor-laden sleepaid, representational sleepaid (RSA) or a control condition with a neutral sleepaid, Sham Control (SC). Self-report questionnaires measured maternal psychological well-being, and video taping recorded infant sleep-wake behaviors repeatedly throughout the first year. RSA mothers reported significantly better levels of well-being throughout the year. At six and twelve months, mothers who reported more depressive feelings exhibited different nighttime interaction patterns. Infant sleep-wake state organization and sleepaid use changed significantly during the first year but were not altered by the intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-393
Number of pages16
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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