New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows moms who have problems breastfeeding in the first two weeks may be more prone to postpartum depression. “We found that very commonly the same moms who were struggling with breastfeeding were also depressed," said senior author Alison Steube, MD, in a release. "There was a tremendous clinical overlap.”
The researchers assessed the postpartum depression status of 2,586 women and found that those who disliked breastfeeding were 42 percent more likely to experience postpartum depression at two months compared to women who liked it. Women who reported severe breastfeeding pain on their first day were also likely to be depressed at two months.
The study, published online in Obstetrics & Gynecology, also highlights the importance of new mothers talking to their doctors about breastfeeding difficulties and any other issues, so they may be screened for depression. Steube goes on to explain:
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?’