The Relationship Among Breastfeeding, Postpartum Depression, and Postpartum Weight in Mexican American Women

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine if symptoms of postpartum depression and postpartum weight varied according to the level of breastfeeding among women of Mexican origin at 1 month and 6 months postpartum.

Design:

Secondary quantitative analysis to study the differences in postpartum weight and depression among the mothers in the study who breastfed and those who did not.

Setting:

A heavily Hispanic community located in a major Southwestern U.S. city.

Participants:

Women of Mexican origin (N = 150) who enrolled during their third trimesters in a local Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children clinic and were followed for 6 months.

Methods:

Weight was measured at 1 month and at 6 months postpartum at home visits with validated digital scales. Breastfeeding was measured according to World Health Organization criteria and recorded after monthly phone calls. Depression was measured at home visits at 1 month and 6 months with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.

Results:

At 6 months postpartum, participants who did not breastfeed had the highest scores on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale; participants who breastfed nonexclusively had the lowest scores (p = .067). At both time points, there was a significant difference in weight (p = .017) between women who were doing any breastfeeding and women who were not breastfeeding.

Conclusion:

Breastfeeding, even if not exclusive, contributed to lower depression scores and significantly lower postpartum weight among this sample of Mexican American women.

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