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Int J Psychiatry Med. 2012;43(3):243-59.

The relationship between postpartum depression and breastfeeding.

Author information

  • 1King Saud bin AbdulAziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. hamdan1@ksau-hs.edu.sa



The purpose was to investigate the possible correlation or predictive relationship between breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression (PPD).


We conducted a prospective study in which 137 Arab women were assessed during pregnancy and postpartum. Current breastfeeding was correlated with postpartum outcomes (EPDS and MINI), employment, and use of formula at 2 and 4 months postpartum, as well as with other variables.


Women who were breastfeeding at 2 and 4 months had lower scores on EPDS (p < 0.0037 andp < 0.0001, respectively) and were less likely to be diagnosed with PPD at 4 months (p < 0.0025). Higher scores on EPDS and diagnosis of PPD at 2 months were predictive of lower rates of breastfeeding at 4 months (p < 0.0001 and p < 0.005, respectively). Women who were employed and using formula at 2 months were less likely to breastfeed at 4 months (p < 0.0001). Breastfeeding women at 2 months had lower scores on EPDS (p < 0.003) and were less likely to be diagnosed with PPD (p <0.05) at 4 months.


The results indicate that women who breastfeed their infants reduced their risk of developing PPD, with effects being maintained over the first 4 months postpartum. PPD may also decrease the rate of breastfeeding, suggesting a reciprocal relationship between these variables.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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