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Mothers 'shouldn't feel guilty about not breastfeeding'

There needs to be better support for new mothers, whether they breastfeed or not, the head of the Royal College of Midwives said.

Cathy Warwick added that "women should not feel guilty about not breastfeeding."

A new study has revealed women who want to breastfeed but are unable to are at most risk of developing postnatal depression.

It is vital [women] receive high-quality support immediately after the baby is born and throughout the postnatal period.

If better support was available, less women would face the disappointment of not being able to breastfeed. However, not all women do successfully breastfeed their baby and it is critical, as this study points out, that midwives are also able to support women positively when this is the case.

Women should not feel guilty about not breastfeeding and should be helped to feed their baby in a way which encourages close contact and mother/baby interaction.

– Cathy Warwick

Breastfeeding 'helps prevent postnatal depression'

There may be a link between breastfeeding and a mother's chances of developing postnatal depression, new research has found.

The study, published in the journal Maternal and Child Health, found women who planned to breastfeed, and went on to, were 50% less likely to become depressed than mothers who did not breastfeed.

A study has found women who breastfeed are less likely to develop postpartum depression Credit: PA

Women who planned to breastfeed but were unable to were at the highest risk of developing the condition, more than twice as likely to become depressed as mothers who had not planned to breastfeed and didn't.

The survey of the mothers of almost 14,000 babies in the Bristol area during the 1990s found the link was strongest when babies were two months old, but much smaller by the time they were eight months or older.

Around 13% of new mothers experience postpartum depression within 14 weeks of giving birth, posing serious mental health problems for the mother and having a significant effect on the newborn's development, the researchers said.

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