Mental health is always important and something to be aware of- especially when you’re pregnant, post-partum and\or breastfeeding. But does breastfeeding cause depression? That is a bit of a load question but let’s dive into it a little more.
Can breastfeeding cause depression?
Depression can occur anytime. Many women experience post-partum depression while others may experience depression during pregnancy. Experts aren’t saying one way or another if depression is actually caused by breastfeeding or not. There is no casual link between depression and breastfeeding. Licensed psychotherapist Dr. Mayra Mendez says that “Postpartum depression is impacted by multiple physiological, psychological, sociocultural, familial and relational factors.” So if you are breastfeeding and experiencing depression it could be from a number of factors. 40-80 percent of new moms experience some sort of mood disorder. If the symptoms last longer than 2 weeks it may be post-partum depression.
Other studies show that breastfeeding can actually improve a mother’s mood due to the increase in oxytocin that occurs during the milk “letting down”.
While there is no direct link between breastfeeding and depression it is extremely important to be aware your moods and mental health especially after giving birth. We can all agree that the post-partum season of life can take a toll physically and emotionally on all women. Please reach out to your care provider if you are experiencing any symptoms or signs of depression.
New to breastfeeding? Need a refresher for a second baby? Make sure you signup for “The Complete Online Breastfeeding Class“. This on demand class is designed to help you meet your breastfeeding goals.
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Katie Clark is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has helped thousands of mothers and families around the globe navigate breastfeeding challenges and questions since 2015. She has a passion for creating research-based, helpful breastfeeding education and helping parents find a way to make breastfeeding work for them. Katie is a mom of three little boys and lives in the great state of Colorado. She also has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in print journalism.