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J Reprod Med. 2007 Aug;52(8):689-95.

Postpartum anxiety and breast feeding.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.



To evaluate the relationship between postpartum anxiety and lactation experience, knowledge, confidence and performance.


State anxiety was measured among breast-feeding women by the State Trait Anxiety Inventory before hospital discharge and at 1 month postpartum. Breast-feeding experience and knowledge were assessed by focused questions and confidence by the Breastfeeding Confidence Scale. Breast-feeding performance measures included breast-feeding immediately after delivery; formula supplementation in the hospital; full, exclusive breast-feeding; and breast-feeding termination at 1 month postpartum.


Predischarge anxiety correlated inversely with breast-feeding confidence (r [339] = -0.27, p = 0.000) but not with experience or knowledge. As compared to low-anxiety mothers, those with high anxiety were less likely to breast-feed after delivery (53.0% vs. 65.1%, p = 0.049) and more likely to give their infants formula (43.9% vs. 29.1%, p = 0.022). In logistic regression models adjusting for demographic and social factors, high-anxiety mothers were less likely to practice full, exclusive breast-feeding (AOR = 0.39; 95% CI 0.20, 0.74; p < 0.005) and more likely to have terminated breastfeeding at 1 month (AOR = 4.40; 95% CI 1.70, 11.33; p < 0.005).


Postpartum anxiety may be associated with reduced breast-feeding confidence and lactation performance. Awareness of this association may be helpful in identifying women at risk for lactation failure and targeting efforts to promote breast-feeding.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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