Breastfeeding and postpartum depression: assessing the influence of breastfeeding intention and other risk factors
Pope, Carley J.
DisciplinePsychology : Clinical
MetadataShow full item record
Risk and protective factors for postpartum depression have been extensively studied, and more recently an association between breastfeeding and maternal mood has been reported. The purpose of the present study was to clarify the association between breastfeeding and postpartum depression by assessing if women who did not breastfeed were at greater risk of postpartum depression compared to women who attempted to breastfeed, and if intent to breastfeed or other known risk factors influenced the association. The association between breastfeeding duration and postpartum depressive symptoms was also examined. Breastfeeding information, demographic information, and scores on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale were examined from the Canadian Maternity Experience Survey. This survey contains data collected from 6421 Canadian mothers between October 2006 and January 2007, and 2848 women between five and seven months postpartum were included in the current analyses. In contrast to previous research and the hypotheses of this study, logistic regression analyses revealed that breastfeeding attempt and duration were not associated with postpartum depression at five to seven months postpartum. Although a relationship between the prenatal intention to combination feed and postpartum depression was observed, these variables were no longer related once other potential risk factors were controlled for. Factors that were associated with postpartum depression included lower income, higher perceived stress, lower perceived social support, no history of depression, or no recent history of abuse. These findings suggest that the association between breastfeeding and postpartum depression reported by previous researchers may in fact be due to alternative risk factors.