ST. LOUIS – According to the CDC, between 11% and 20% of women who give birth each year in the U.S. have postpartum depression symptoms, which is the greatest risk factor for maternal suicide and infanticide. But a new study suggests breastfeeding might statistically lower the risk of postpartum depression.
Dabney Vaccaro is a lactation consultant at SSM Health St. Clare Hospital who says that as the number of breastfeeding weeks increased, the risk of depression decreases. Lactation consultants are available at all SSM Health hospitals to support moms in their choice to breastfeed.
“Breastfeeding is another step you can take to decrease your risk of postpartum depression,” she said. “One in 5 women are at risk for postpartum depression and anxiety, so anything you can do to help yourself, your family, and your baby, will help you in the long run.”
Lactation consultants are available to help new moms take care of their goal to breastfeed and will help as long as mom decides to continue breastfeeding.
“The breastfeeding journey starts immediately after birth. Lactation consultants help with the first latch,” Vaccaro said.
Dabney also says the hospitals offer Weigh-In Wednesdays which is a breastfeeding support group and the MOMS line can be called. There is also a moms’ group to offer moms support in their breastfeeding choices. She says anytime a mom needs support, she is able to call the MOMS line number which is 314-768-6667.
To learn more about postpartum resources offered by SSM Health, click here.
The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.