Besides the long-established benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mom, a new study reports one more: Nursing could help chase the blues away. Researchers from several universities examined a database of nearly 30,000 women in 26 states and discovered women who breastfed had a statistically significant lower risk of postpartum depression than those who were not.
They also found that the longer a woman breastfed, the more the risk of depression decreased.
This is a very important finding as postpartum depression is the greatest risk factor for maternal suicide and infanticide, the killing of a child, within a year of birth.
The senior study author said,
“Women suffering from postpartum depression endure feelings of sadness, anxiety and extreme fatigue that makes it difficult for them to function.”
Christine Toledo, an assistant professor in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University
“Women with postpartum depression who are not treated also may have negative outcomes, including difficulty bonding with and caring for their children, thoughts of harming themselves or their infant, and also are at an increased risk of substance misuse.”
The CDC estimates up to 20 percent of new moms experience postpartum depression. With about 4 million births a year in the United States, that’s about 800,000 women affected.
Postpartum depression also increases the risk of other health issues, including heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
All this to say that there are now more reasons than ever for new moms to breastfeed their babies if at all possible and for as long as possible.
The study was published in the journal Public Health Nursing.
© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.