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Does maternal postpartum depressive symptomatology influence infant feeding outcomes?


C-L Dennis, Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, 155 College Street, Toronto, Ontario M5T 1P8, Canada.
Tel: 416 946 8608 | Fax: 416 978 8222 | Email:


Aim: To examine the relationship between diverse infant feeding outcomes, e.g. infant feeding method, maternal satisfaction, infant feeding plans, breastfeeding progress and breastfeeding self-efficacy) and postpartum depressive symptomatology using a time-sequenced analysis.

Methods: As part of a population-based study, 594 participants completed questionnaires at 1, 4 and 8 weeks postpartum.

Results: No relationship was found between diverse infant feeding outcomes at 1-week postpartum and the development of depressive symptomatology at 4 or 8 weeks. Conversely, mothers with an Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Score >12 at 1 week postpartum were significantly more likely at 4 and/or 8 weeks to discontinue breastfeeding, be unsatisfied with their infant feeding method, experience significant breastfeeding problems and report lower levels of breastfeeding self-efficacy.

Conclusions: The findings from this study suggest that early identification of breastfeeding mothers with depressive symptomatology is needed not only to reduce the morbidity associated with postpartum depression but also in attempt to promote increased rates of breastfeeding duration.