Breastfeeding taskforce

Breastfeeding can chase away the baby blues

ST. LOUIS — According to the CDC, between 11% and 20% of women who give birth each year in the United States have symptoms of postpartum depression, which is the greatest risk factor for maternal suicide and infanticide. But a new study suggests that breastfeeding may statistically reduce the risk of postpartum depression.

Dabney Vaccaro is a lactation consultant at SSM Health St. Clare Hospital who says that as the number of weeks of breastfeeding increases, the risk of depression decreases. Lactation consultants are available in all SSM Health hospitals to support mothers in their choice to breastfeed.

“Breastfeeding is another step you can take to reduce your risk of postpartum depression,” she said. “One in 5 women is 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 mums achieve their breastfeeding goal and will help them as long as the mum decides to continue breastfeeding.

“The breastfeeding journey begins immediately after birth. Lactation consultants help with the first latch,” Vaccaro said.

Dabney also says that hospitals offer weigh-in Wednesdays which are a breastfeeding support group and the MOMS line can be called. There is also a moms group to offer support to moms in their breastfeeding choices. She says anytime a mother needs help, she can call the MOMS hotline, 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.