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Symptoms of maternal depression immediately after delivery predict unsuccessful breast feeding
  1. Luigi Gagliardi1,
  2. Angela Petrozzi1,2,
  3. Franca Rusconi3
  1. 1Department of Woman and Child Health, Ospedale ‘Versilia’, Lido di Camaiore, Italy
  2. 2Division of Psychology, Ospedale ‘Versilia’, Lido di Camaiore, Italy
  3. 3Unit of Epidemiology, ‘Anna Meyer’ Children's University Hospital, Florence, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Luigi Gagliardi, Department of Woman and Child Health, Ospedale ‘Versilia’, Via Aurelia 335, I-55043 Lido di Camaiore (LU), Italy; l.gagliardi{at}


Objective Postnatal depression may interfere with breast feeding. This study tested the ability of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) to predict later breast feeding problems, hypothesising that risk of unsuccessful breast feeding increased with increasing EPDS scores, even at low values.

Design The authors administered the EPDS on days 2–3 after delivery to 592 mothers of a healthy baby. Feeding method was recorded at 12–14 weeks.

Results Median EPDS score was 5 (IQR 2 -8); 15.7% of women scored >9. At 12–14 weeks, 50.7% of infants received full breast feeding, 21.0% mixed breast feeding and 28.4% bottle feeding. Mothers with higher EPDS scores were more likely to bottle feed at 3 months; the odds of bottle feeding increased with EPDS result, even at low scores (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.11).

Conclusions Higher EPDS scores immediately after delivery were associated with later breast feeding failure.

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  • These data were presented in part at the 48th meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Research, Prague, Czech Republic, 6–8 October 2007.

  • Funding This study was supported by a grant from Piccole Stelle Onlus to AP.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the ethics committee of Ospedale ‘Versilia’.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.