Factors associated with breastfeeding self-efficacy: Maternal depression, infant weight gain, and milk-intake
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Recent evidence suggests that greater levels of breastfeeding self-efficacy are associated with breastfeeding continuation while lower levels are associated with maternal depression. The present study sought to advance insight into breastfeeding self-efficacy by confirming these findings and exploring whether it differs with infant out outcomes relating to weight gain and milk-intake. METHODS: N = 50 mothers who had initiated breastfeeding at childbirth were seen at 9-16 (M= 12) days postpartum. Women completed a measure of breastfeeding efficacy (Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Scale, BSES), a depression scale (EPDS), reported on birth weight and degree of exclusivity in breastfeeding since birth. Infants were weighed before and immediately after a breastfeeding session using a clinical electronic scale (Seca 231/232) to obtain a score for Milk-Intake. RESULTS: Hierarchical regression analysis was used to determine the unique contributions of the two main predictors, Milk-Intake and Depression, to Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy above one control measure, Exclusivity of breastfeeding. The analysis revealed Exclusivity of breastfeeding was a trend in predicting breastfeeding self-efficacy, milk-intake predicted self-efficacy until depression was added to the model. Once depression was entered on the last block, breastfeeding exclusivity became significant and milk-intake was reduced to a trend. CONCLUSIONS: Two key findings emerged from this study. First, I discovered an association between breastfeeding efficacy and milk-intake which suggests that a mother’s confidence in her ability to sustain her infant is partially dependent on the actual extent to which she is able to do so. Second, I discovered that if a mother suffers from depression, her confidence in breastfeeding is only weakly related to her infant’s milk-intake.