Link Between PPD and BFing Difficulties

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2009
Link Between PPD and BFing Difficulties
Mon, 08-08-2011 - 5:10pm

I usually just read the board, but I haven't seen this article mentioned yet so I thought I'd share it.

The article is about a new study in the Obstetrics & Gynecology that finds that women who have problems breastfeeding during the first two weeks are more likely to suffer from PPD.

I can understand how there may be a link.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Mon, 08-08-2011 - 9:28pm
Actually, while we have not discussed that particular article on this board yet we have discussed another article on the particular study that article is talking about recently.

Regarding the issue of PPD and BF'ing problems, I don't think that BF issues cause PPD as some people claim and I don't think this study claims that as some people also wrongly interpreted it as saying. What I take from the study is that if you have PPD and your also dealing with PPD issues that can be a bad combination. Part of the problem is that PPD can make certain BF issues seem worse or more difficult to overcome they then they really are. The solution seems to be to treat the PPD (There are many BF compatible treatments for PPD) and to see a LC or LLL leader for assistance in overcoming the BF problems. It is not generally to just give up on BF'ing unless you have been evaluated by a IBCLC who determines that your BF issue is not one you can likely overcome. It is known that suddenly stopping BF'ing cold turkey can cause hormone shift that can make PPD worse so I think that's another good reason to not just give up on BF'ing when dealing with PPD.

I can see how not having proper support from your DH could make it any PPD you might have had worse.Hopefully, if you do have any future children, you can get your Dh to understand how the lack of support for BF'ing only exacerbated your PPD last time rather then helped. I suspect he believed that quitting BF'ing was the best solution to psychological issues your where having at the time (i.e. the possible PPD) and thought he was really helping. It also possible he just doesn't see BF'ing as significantly beneficial health-wise so why put so much effort into it. Many people who give up easily when BF problems arise, especially when dealing PPD, often take the view the benefits of BF'ing are not that significant so it's not worth putting too much effort to BF, especially if your suffering from PPD. They often see the continuing to try with BF'ing as detrimental to properly bonding with their baby, hence the phrase "happy mom = happy baby". While that that may be true in some circumstances there is little evidence to support that in general. There is no evidence to support any claim that mother who has BF issues and PPD but overcomes both is any less likely to properly bond with their infant. It have never seen any evidence that there is some key window in the first few weeks and months for bonding properly to one's baby that if missed will mean a poor bond for now on. There is also no evidence that the babies happiness is always directly tied to the others happiness. While it's likely true that the baby can pick on the mothers unhappiness, I have seen no evidence that the effect on the baby is anywhere near a detrimental as many of the "happy mom = happy baby" people claim. In fact I believe that in some instances a mom could be happy when the baby isn't and the baby happy while the mom isn't. In case where the baby is unhappy along with the mom due to real BF issues, it's more likely a result of not getting enough milk or other BF issues and not as a result of picking up on mom's unhappiness. If the BF issues are resolved then both mom and baby will be happier but for different reasons. Sometimes though the mother is unhappy due to psychological issues such as unjustified worry over milk supply, nursing in public, or trouble accepting that their is good reason for their baby want to eat all the time. These are more psychological issues that will not likely effect babies happiness even if mom if unhappy and the solution likely involves helping the mother get over her hangups that prevent her from trusting her body to make enough milk, being more comfortable with idea of NIP, and accepting that extremely frequent nursing is good for her infant and will not last forever.


Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Tue, 08-09-2011 - 11:33am


Welcome to the debate board. It's wonderful to see you posting here and I hope that you will stick around and post more often.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 08-09-2011 - 3:54pm

I can see how not having proper support from your DH could make it any PPD you might have had worse.

This little study showed that when fathers were coached in how to be supportive of breastfeeding, BFing rates at six months increased from 15% to 25%. So they play a role both in ameliorating PPD and breastfeeding difficulties!