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Symptoms of maternal depression immediately after delivery predict unsuccessful breast feeding

Abstract

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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