ONE of the factors that affects breastfeeding is postpartum depression (PPD).
Postpartum blues is quite common because of the fluctuations in the hormone levels of the mother after delivery. However, if it lasts longer than a few days, it may turn into postpartum depression and even, postpartum psychosis.
Associate Prof Dr Muhammad Najib Mohamad Alwi, from Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences, who is also a consultant psychiatrist, said that 85% of women have postpartum blues and the peak days are from Day Three to Day Five after birth and it lasts up to 14 days so it’s fairly brief. However, there is a risk of developing Postpartum Depression at 4-8 weeks.
He was one of the speakers at the recent PRISMA 2015 conference.
He warned that even though postpartum blues is brief, it prevents bonding.
About 20-40% of mothers progress to major depression in the first year after childbirth.
Postpartum depression symptoms:
- Appetite changes
- Sluggishness or fatigue
- Lack of interest in the baby
- Crying for no reason
- Difficulty concentrating or confusion
- Fear of harming baby or self
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Feeling hopeless, sad, helpless or worthless.
According to Associate Prof Dr Muhammad Najib, without treatment, postpartum depression can last several months and sometimes it can even extend into the second year postpartum.
“Babies of mothers with PPD were perceived by their mothers as more difficult to care for and more bothersome,” he said, explaining that when one is depressed, everything becomes very negative.
“That will increase the risk of harming self or the baby. It also diminishes bonding and lactation.”
If the mother doesn’t want to take care of the baby, there is no bonding, and hence not much breastfeeding, and this will affect the lactation.
He warned mothers who have PPD and are under medication to work closely with their paediatrician and psychiatrist to minimise the risks to the baby and to help them make an educated decision on whether to continue breastfeeding.
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