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Anxious mothers less likely to breastfeed

Anxious mothers are more likely than others to give up on breastfeeding, research shows.

A Norwegian study of some 28,000 women found that negative feelings and personality traits had an obvious effect on breastfeeding habits.

Women who were anxious or who had little confidence in their breastfeeding ability appeared to take part in it less than others.

A high score of anxiety made women at least 30% ore likely to stop breastfeeding before six months, or supplement breast milk with baby porridge or infant formula.

Women who believed they could cope well with their new situation as a mother were also more likely to exclusively breastfeed or the first six months after birth compared with women who thought they would struggle to cope.

The authors suggest that health professionals should be on the lookout for new mums who feel anxious or depressive.

Encouraging women to talk can help new mothers become conscious of their anxious feelings.

Journal of Paediatrics