Study Shows Link Between Breastfeeding Difficulties and Depression

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A new study shows a link between moms who have trouble breastfeeding and moms who are depressed.

Of the women studied (approximately 2,586) the authors of the study found an extremely strong correlation between mothers with breastfeeding difficulties the first two weeks after birth (8.6%) and depression. They also found that even women who didn’t have difficulties breastfeeding, but simply did not like breastfeeding, were 1.42 time more likely to suffer from depression two months after birth than those moms who liked breastfeeding. Women who reported severe pain on their first day of breastfeeding were also 1.92 times more likely to suffer from depression as well.

The authors of the study said this gives healthcare providers a real reason to screen those moms with breastfeeding difficulties for postpartum depression before it’s too late.

Another recent study also shows a direct correlation between public perception of breastfeeding and a woman’s desire to continue breastfeeding. 68 mothers who reported having breastfeeding difficulties 12 to 36 hours after birth were randomly asked to either hand-express their breastmilk for 15 minutes or use a breastpump. While both groups expressed the same amount of milk, a larger percentage of moms in the hand-express group were still breastfeeding two month later (97.1%) compared to the mothers who used breastpumps (72.7% ). The exact reasoning is unclear, but it could be because the moms who hand-expressed their breastmilk said they felt more comfortable in front of other people while doing it, opposed to the moms who used machines. It could have also been due to the small amount of milk produced by both groups: Hand-expressers felt the 1 milliliter they pumped was adequate, while the machine pumpers thought they should have produced more because they had the help of a pump.

Even thought the direct impact of these studies might be unclear, it appears that public opinion towards breastfeeding might be having a negative impact on those mothers who are having difficulty breastfeeding.

Do you think there’s a strong correlation between not being able to breastfeeding and depression? Do you think there’s too much pressure put on women to breastfeed?

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