The significance of breastfeeding practices on postpartum depression risk

Christine Toledo, Rosina Cianelli, Natalia Villegas Rodriguez, Giovanna De Oliveira, Karina Gattamorta, Danuta Wojnar, Emmanuela Ojukwu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Examine the relationship between breastfeeding practices (breastfeeding status and breastfeeding length) and postpartum depression (PPD) risk, after controlling for significant risk factors for PPD. Design: A cross-sectional, correlational study design was used. Data was used from a national dataset using a subsample of women (n = 29,682) residing in 26 states in the United States that answered the 2016 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) questionnaire. A secondary analysis was conducted using descriptive and bivariate analyses, and a multiple logistic regression model. Results: Women currently breastfeeding (AOR = 0.87 CI: 0.79–0.95, p =.001), and women who breastfed for longer periods of time (p = <.002) had a statistically significantly lower PPD risk compared to their counterparts, even after accounting for significant covariates. Conclusions: Study findings suggest breastfeeding as a cost efficient and healthy behavior that can decrease a woman's risk for PPD. Nurses should educate and promote the maternal mental health benefits of breastfeeding in addition to the health benefits for the infant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPublic Health Nursing
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • breastfeeding
  • postpartum depression
  • quantitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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