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Breastfeeding Problems Associated with Depression

Breastfeeding Problems Associated with Depression Postpartum depression is more common among women who had breastfeeding issues in the first two weeks after giving birth.

Accordingly, researchers say women with breastfeeding difficulties should be screened for depressive symptoms.

“We found that women who said they disliked breastfeeding were 42 percent more likely to experience postpartum depression at two months compared to women who liked breastfeeding,” said Stephanie Watkins, a doctoral student in epidemiology at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“We also found that women with severe breast pain at day one and also at two weeks postpartum were twice as likely to be depressed compared to women that did not experience pain with nursing.”

The idea for the study, published online ahead of print by the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, grew from the clinical experience of senior author Alison Stuebe, M.D.

“We found that very commonly the same moms who were struggling with breastfeeding were also depressed,” she said. “There was a tremendous clinical overlap.”

In the study, researchers worked to determine if this anecdotal association would be backed up by statistical analysis of relevant data. They used data collected as part of the Infant Feeding and Practices Study II, and assessed the postpartum depression status of the 2,586 women in that study with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.

Of those women, 8.6 percent met the criteria for major depression two months after giving birth.

Women who reported disliking breastfeeding during the first week were 1.42 times as likely to be depressed at two months. Women who reported severe breastfeeding pain on their first day were 1.96 times as likely to be depressed at two months.

The finding indicated that mothers with breastfeeding difficulties should be screened for depression and referred to counseling when depression is confirmed.

Further, the study also provides a message for mothers, Stuebe said.

“If they’re struggling with breastfeeding, they should seek help and tell their provider. If they don’t have joy in their life, if they wake up in the morning and think, ‘I just can’t do this another day’ – that’s a medical emergency.

“They shouldn’t just say, ‘I’m going to power through this and snap out of it.’ They should call their provider and say, ‘I just don’t feel right, I’m wondering if I could be depressed, can I come in and talk to you about it?’ ”

Source: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Breastfeeding Problems Associated with Depression

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Breastfeeding Problems Associated with Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 24, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2011/07/20/breastfeeding-problems-associated-with-depression/27906.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.