Breastfeeding & Postpartum Depression: Effects Of PPD On Breastfeeding Is A Continuous Cycle - How To Help Mothers

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald November 21, 04:00 am

The connection between breastfeeding and postpartum depression (PPD) has been a point of study by experts for years. Despite many theories, the condition is not yet better understood especially since postpartum depression and its effects vary between moms.

What's certain is that moms who breastfeed while experiencing postpartum depression are more challenged to stick with the routines. But is the depression triggered by breastfeeding? How does this happen and how can mothers be helped?

According to Postpartum Progress, mothers with postpartum depression often speak about breastfeeding in their support groups. This is a sensitive issue that stems from a lot of factors. These include failing to produce milk, failing to bond with the baby, the baby's inability to suck properly or the way moms' anxiety over taking depression meds because it might contaminate the milk.

The more these issues arise, the more moms with PPD end up getting overwhelmed by breastfeeding, which then worsens their postpartum condition. When breastfeeding moms become anxious or depressed, their hormones also change, which then affects their milk production and ability to lactate, according to a study published in the National Institutes of Health.

According to Women's Health, some mothers' PPD are so severe that they tend to stop breastfeeding altogether to do away with the bad feelings. But then again, doing so could aggravate depression symptoms in other mothers as well.

What this demonstrates is a continuous cycle among breastfeeding moms with postpartum depression, according to Romper. One way to help the moms is to encourage them to seek a person for two things -- to help process their emotions or receive counsel via a support group or a licensed psychological therapist; and to help them manage breastfeeding and get advise from a board certified lactation consultant.

Families or partners of breastfeeding moms with postpartum depression have a crucial role in this as well. They have to watch out for symptoms of PPD, too, so that they can bring the mom to her doctor for intervention. The American Pregnancy Org has listed PPD, PPA and other postpartum symptoms. Early detection is the key to ensuring that the breastfeeding mom with postpartum depression recovers fully well.

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