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Research question re PND and breastfeeding. Tiktok? Mears? Any contributions please.

(31 Posts)
moondog Tue 07-Oct-08 18:01:05

In a (Heatlh) Trust presentation today hearing about PND. HV giving it said 9in regretful tone and said it was not info they would share with new mothers) that incidence of PND higher amongst women breastfeeding. but gave no references. Is this so??

lulumama Tue 07-Oct-08 18:04:18

i did not breastfeed and had horrific PND if that helps grin

perhaps some study shows that mothers struggling to breastfeed, with no support, with pain etc who stop breastfeeding sooner than they would have liked are more likely to become depressed or this tips them over the edge into depression?

can't cite any references though, and am surprised that such a presentation was not backed up with citations etc..

moondog Tue 07-Oct-08 18:10:49

I can appreciate variables are complex.

(poor you)

aurorec Tue 07-Oct-08 18:11:51

I agree with lulu, it's more likely to be an issue with bad BFing experience.

With my 1st I had a C-section (which I'm sure doesn't help, with all the drugs and the painful recovery) and excruciating painful BFing. Even though I didn't get PND, I definitely felt very low and lost and I remember dreading evenings and the thought of the night ahead (Nursing was always more difficult at night).

With 2nd I had a natural delivery and BF is going very easily and smoothly and things are so much better- I'm happy to keep him at the breast for hours on end if need be, whereas with DD I was dreading feeds.

scorpio1 Tue 07-Oct-08 18:12:33

I had horrendous PND twice, both FF. This time (dd is 5 months, nearly 6)i have exc BF and had no PND, not a smidge of anything like that.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 07-Oct-08 18:14:29

Did a quick search on google scholar and found this abstract

moondog Tue 07-Oct-08 18:15:19


flourybaps Tue 07-Oct-08 18:18:10

I had (still recovering from) PND, on reflection I think guilt at failed attempt to breastfeed and traumatic delivery definately contributed.

Interestingly though, and sorry I cant back this up with any research, I had some CBT to help deal with the PND and the hv did say that people who had 'difficult relationships' with their own mothers were also much more likely to get PND.

TotalChaos Tue 07-Oct-08 18:20:24

you may find this of interest

moondog Tue 07-Oct-08 18:22:55

Also interesting. Have spent summer in Bangladesh (dh works there) and it is of course the place where formula companies are doing some staggeringly immoral things. sad

TheFallenMadonna Tue 07-Oct-08 18:23:53

This gives a differnt view I think.

tiktok Tue 07-Oct-08 18:27:42

TFM - an o....l....d study, and from the abstract, riddled with holes.

moondog - the HV should not say things like that without a citation.

The last time I looked at this issue, I came to the conclusion that no one has any evidence to be dogmatic about feeding and PND either way.

It may be true that women who bf have more incidence of PND - but if we define bf as 'ever putting baby to breast', then as most women who bf stop long before the 6 ms excl. bf recommendation, let alone long before any 'natural' age, then all we could say is that 'unphysiologically short terms of bf are associated with an increased incidence of PND.'

OTOH it may be true that as bf for many women in the UK is an unrewarding, socially-excluding and counter-cultural phenomenon, it might be linked an inc risk of PND for those reasons.

This is speculation, I stress - would have to read more recent texts to be more confident.

No idea if the HV is right anyway...

tiktok Tue 07-Oct-08 18:28:45

TFM, I was referring to your first link when I said it was old.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 07-Oct-08 18:31:05

I wasn't vouching for it tiktok. I merely did a quick search and came up with two studies with contrasting results. It wasn't offered as a comprehensive literature review.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 07-Oct-08 18:32:04

Second link pretty old too TBH.

waitingtobloom Tue 07-Oct-08 20:06:04

I have had pnd twice and breastfed twice - I was only wondering earlier if I would have escaped it if I hadnt breastfed. Saying that I am so pro breastfeeding that not being able to breastfeed would prbbably depress me!

Perhaps there is a link for women who react depressively or extremely to hormones. Would be interesting to see the links with pmt, hyperemesis, pcos - that sort of thing. Personally I react badly to hormones in pregnancy - am sick for the whole 9 months and then depressed afterwards (still want more though lol).

What I also found was that although my pnd went away last time after 9 months it came back horribly so for about 2 - 3 weeks when DS weaned at about 15 months. I was ready to wean and he self weaned and was really happy so dont think it was psychological. I then also found for a while that I got mildly depressed just before each period which i hadnt before.

I definitely think a bad experience/need to stop breastfeeding can lead to depression but I had easy breastfeeding experiences with few problems apart from tiredness from the frequent feeding and mastitis - nothing that would have made me depressed.

It could also be that women who suffer from problems breastfeeding also suffer from problems in the rest of their lives which contribute to the bf problems (eg lack of support) and its these problems which exacerbate things.

THere are some links on Kelly mom - one saying it reduces pnd but 1994 study.

Really interesing.


expatinscotland Tue 07-Oct-08 20:07:50

i didn't bf dd1 and had PND.

i bf dd2 and had PND.

it made no difference.

moondog Wed 08-Oct-08 00:16:53

Thank you all and Tiktok.

Yes, I was thinkning along these lines myself. I thought it off to be saying this stuff with no citations in a hospital that is striving for Baby Friendly status, largely due to work of lactation cosultant Sharon Breward (now MBE for heroic services to breastfeeding)

crokky Wed 08-Oct-08 01:00:01

I bf DS excl 6 months, then til 12.5 months with solids. DD is 6.5 months - I did 6 excl and now she's on solids with BF.

I haven't got PND, but I would definitely say that the hormones that breasfeeding produces make me very very anxious. As soon as I stopped BF DS, I felt totally different. Now I am BF DD, I feel very anxious all over again. In a way, I'm looking forward to stopping so that I feel better in general. However, I love feeding her and cuddling her and I never ration the boob. So it's a bit difficult!

Hormones affect different people in different way. eg pg hormones make some people end up with hyperemesis and other people feeling on top of the world. Has wildly different effects. Perhaps same for BF hormones.

Also my mum had PND whilst she bf me (til 9 months). When she stopped BF, this magically disappeared.

Anyway, a bit silly to link them pubically as people respond differently to hormones.

VeniVidiVickiQV Wed 08-Oct-08 22:57:51

if you fancy some anecdotal....

i b/fed DD without hitch for 6 months and was fine. Fairly difficult much intervened natural delivery.

DS - more normal delivery but hospitalised with PE. B/feeding more difficult - had thrush and mastitis for first 8 weeks. b/fed for 2.4 years. Had PND diagnosed when he was 7 months.

FAQ Wed 08-Oct-08 23:02:36

another anectdotal here - BF DS1 for 14 months, a few hiccups in the early days, but nothing that wasn't insurmountable (apart from getting him to take expressed milk from a bottle grin) - I had horrendous PND and really struggled to bond with him (something I think that still affects us both today sometimes- and he's just turned 8 sad)

DS2 was bottlefed (horrendous birth though) - did have PND - but nothing like as bad as with DS1

DS3 - BF for 3 weeks, mixfed until 4 months, then FF - (fantastic birth) not sure if I had PND - when he was 9 months old I definitely had depression - but not sure wheter I can link it to being PND or not.

CorpseBrideOfJohnCusack Wed 08-Oct-08 23:06:51

well with me I'm pretty sure the worst bits of PND - the proper onset if you will - coincided with the return of periods. BF DD for 10 months (until she refused) and periods back at 7 months. BF DS for 14 months (until he TOO refused to do it anymore) and periods back at 10 months.

so some sort of hormonal connection. Dunno if it would have come earlier if I'd FF and therefore periods came back earlier - impossible to tell

citations essential I'd say

gigglewitch Wed 08-Oct-08 23:08:08

I bf all three of mine, 10mo each for boys and 17mo for DD. Had milder pnd (not "diagnosed") with ds1, depression from 24wks pg with ds2 [traumatic pg] with medication until he was 12mo, and severe pnd after dd for which i'm still being treated, 2.7yrs on sad
Also am a pro-pro-breastfeeding mum and when they said at one point i should give up bf to get stronger meds I was pretty much suicidal as bfing was the only thing I was enjoying.
I think there's a big link to having suffered from depression before pg, also to hormonal mood variation - controllable but significant episodes of low mood are a monthly thing for me m'afraid. should've namechanged actually as you're getting all my darkest secrets here.
I find the whole area of great interest though, am off to peruse the links smile

MoonlightMcKenzie Wed 08-Oct-08 23:08:36

It wouldn't surprise me. BF support is VERY depressing.

Candlewax Wed 08-Oct-08 23:11:13

With my first I unsuccessfully breast fed and was made to feel a failure by my family but I kept at it but weaned early and I had no PND.

With my second, I breastfed like mad and was very successful but I was also suffering from PND and did not realise until my ds was nearly a year old and by then I was almost suicidal.

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