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.
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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