The Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary conducted a new study that discovered that there are increased instances of postpartum depression among new mothers who experience breastfeeding difficulties.
The study, published in the journal CMAJ Open, involved researchers examining the experience of all new mothers who intended to breastfeed before delivery.
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According to the research, 60 to 80 per cent of new moms will encounter difficulties with breastfeeding and postpartum depression is less likely among those who receive positive breastfeeding support.
The study was led by Kathleen Chaput, PhD, adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Paediatrics and senior research methodologist for the university’s Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute. It evaluated 442 Calgary women who had recently given birth and showed no signs of depression. Researchers looked at breastfeeding difficulties, experiences with breastfeeding support and the emergence of postpartum depression symptoms.
87 per cent of the subjects reported at least one unbearable breastfeeding difficulty and almost 99 per cent of them had been given some level of breastfeeding support. Positive support includes experiences such as advice that led to the solving of a specific problem, advice that didn’t lead to the creation of pressure and simply having advice or and support available when it was needed. Unhelpful support came in the form of unsolicited advice.
The positive takeaway from this study is that patient oriented care can benefit from the knowledge that breastfeeding problems happen to almost all new moms combined with the fact that a positive breastfeeding experiences lead to reduced risk of depression.
Chaput hopes these findings will lead to clinical trials in the near future.