This is a REALLY common question that I get asked as a psychologist with a perinatal focus. And the honest answer to that question?
It’s complicated. The research suggests that it is breastfeeding DIFFICULTIES, rather than breastfeeding, that is a strong contributor to postnatal adjustment, while breastfeeding SUCCESS is actually a protective factor.
This highlights that where there are unresolved feeding difficulties, continuing to breastfeed without adequately identifying and treating the feeding problem may contribute to a decline in maternal functioning.
Mental health professionals working in the perinatal period need to have a nuanced understanding of the relationship between infant feeding and mental health. So that we can help women to meet their own goals.