Is There a Link Between Postpartum Depression and Breastfeeding?

Today breastfeeding is viewed as the only healthy way to raise a child. However, new mothers have many questions about it. And one of them is this: is there a direct link between postpartum depression and breastfeeding? Another one is: should I keep on breastfeeding, if I got a PPD? Let’s try to find some answers for these questions.

So, is there a correlation between postpartum depression and breastfeeding?

This is a pretty serious question. According to research, women who breastfeed run lower risks of developing postpartum depression. One good reason for that is the ‘breastfeeding’ hormone, called oxytocin. Your body starts to produce huge doses of this hormone during the parturition. Then, the hormone is used to initiate the milk let down and boost your lactation.
However, this is not the single use of oxytocin in your body. Oxytocin can be considered one of the ‘tenderness’ and ‘happiness’ hormones. It makes you feel good, when you breastfeed your baby. It stimulates the caresses and gentleness towards the baby and helps you to form a strong bond between you two.

Postpartum depression and breastfeeding

Postpartum depression and breastfeeding

Photo by christyscherrer

So, mainly, breastfeeding is good for you. It can help you cope with the depression. However, in some women breastfeeding evokes a sense of tenseness. This may lead to making your postpartum depression symptoms more intense and to worsening your condition.

On the other hand, postpartum depression can become one of the obstacles on your way to breastfeeding. Depression blocks the production of oxytocin, which in its turn may lead to low milk production.

So, should I keep on breastfeeding, if I got postpartum depression?

There is no easy answer to this question. If breastfeeding does not make you tense and does not worsen your depression, then why not? However, if it adds more strain and stress, then it may not be the best way to mother your child. One thing you have to realize is that your postpartum depression greatly affects your baby. It prevents you from forming a tight bond with it. It makes baby experiencing various emotional and even physical discomforts.

So, your main goal is to get over your PPD and get all the help, you can. If breastfeeding worsens your condition, then you should feel no guilt at quitting it. Breastfeeding is good, but a happy and healthy mother is what your baby really needs more than anything else.

If you do not experience an additional tension over breastfeeding, then it may even help you to get over your PPD. Breastfeeding boosts oxytocin production and it helps to build the right bond between you and your child and to uplift your spirits.

Hopefully, these answers to the questions about the link between postpartum depression and breastfeeding would help you to make the best choice in your situation.


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