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Breast-Feeding Woes Indicate Postpartum Depression?


Mothers who struggle to breast-feed their children within the first two weeks of giving birth are more likely to get postpartum depression, a new study indicates.

According to research conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, mothers who can’t find a way to breast-feed their newborns early on are more prone to postpartum depression. By utilizing data from 2,586 women in the government-funded Infant Feeding and Practices Study II, researchers noticed that nine percent of women involved fell into the “major depression group.”
Via Healthtime:

“Clearly all women who have pain breast-feeding are not depressed, but the message for clinicians is to look not just at baby’s mouth and the boob but to also look at mom’s brain,” says Dr. Alison Stuebe, the study’s senior author and an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology in the UNC School of Medicine. “The mind has to be part of the evaluation.”…

“Women who reported dissatisfaction with breast-feeding early on were 42% more likely to have postpartum depression two months after delivery compared with women who enjoyed breast-feeding. Mothers who initially experienced severe breast pain initially and at two weeks postpartum were twice as likely to be depressed as pain-free women. Depression, in general, has been linked to increased pain sensitivity, which may explain why depressed women have more pain while breast-feeding.”

“The association is unlikely to be coincidental. In a pilot study Stuebe is conducting, she’s found that new moms who report feeling anxious have lower levels of oxytocin — the feel-good hormone that courses through the body while nursing — during feeding. ‘Is there something hormonal in women who are depressed that makes breast-feeding less enjoyable?” she says.’”

Despite the blatant link between the inability to breast-feed and postpartum depression, researchers maintain that more work has to be done before a concrete correlation can be made.

This study appeared in the journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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