(HealthDay News) — Breastfeeding cuts new mothers’ risk of depression by half, according to a study published online August 21 in Maternal and Child Health.
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 14,000 births in England and found that risk of postpartum depression was 50% lower among women who followed through on plans to breastfeed, BBC News reported.
However, the risk of depression more than doubled among women who planned to breastfeed but were unable to do so. According to the researchers, the effect of breastfeeding on postpartum depression was mediated both by breastfeeding intentions and maternal mental health during pregnancy.
“It is right to tell mothers it’s right to breastfeed — there are so many benefits — but the thing we need to rethink is giving more support to those who did want to breastfeed and to recognize [that] those who are unable to are at substantially elevated risk [for postpartum depression],” study author Maria Iacovou, MD, of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, told BBC News.