A new study published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal suggests a link between not breastfeeding and postpartum depression (PPD) that seems to depend on whether or not a woman planned to breastfeed in the first place, and as well as her mental health during pregnancy. The research is based on data from a survey of around 14,000 children born in the Bristol area of England in the early 1990s.
PPD, also known as postnatal depression, develops in nearly 13 % of women typically within the first 3 months after giving birth. The condition is much more serious than the ‘baby blues’ and may have long-term effects on mothers’ mental health, and/or on the cognitive, social and physical development of their children.
The authors of this study found that breastfeeding decreased the risk of PPD among mothers who were not depressed during pregnancy, had intended to breastfeed and did so. The highest risk for PPD was found among women who had planned to breastfeed, but had not initiated breastfeeding.
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Source: Maternal and Child HealthJournal, August 2014, doi 10.1007/s10995-014-1591-z