Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Breastfeeding in the face of domestic violence

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

Can mothers continue to breastfeed if they are experiencing domestic violence? If so, what effects does it have on them? This was the topic of  an article from from Sweden by Finnbogad├│ttir and Thies-Lagergren (2017) titled: 'Breastfeeding in the context of domestic violence – a cross sectional study' and published in JAN aimed to: 'determine the differences in breastfeeding among women who did and did not experience domestic violence during pregnancy and postpartum in a Swedish context. In addition, to identify possible differences regarding breastfeeding between groups with or without a history of violence. Further, determine the relationship between exclusive breastfeeding and symptoms of depression'. Over 700 women resopnded to a questionnaire.

In fact, the majority of women experiencing domestic violence continued to breastfeed and this was no different from women not experiencing it. However, women who were depressed breastfed significantly less. This, of course, does not mean that women exeperiencing domestic violence did not experience difficulties with breastfeeding - but this was not part of the present study. It is still important to screen for domestic violence and also for depression. In conclusion the authors said: 'Not only is it desirable to recognize women who are exposed to violence but also crucial to identify and screen for depression in early pregnancy to give suitable treatment and support to those with symptoms of depression as the health of newborns depends on their mother’s mental well-being.

Yiou can listen to this as a podcast


Finnbogad├│ttir, H. and Thies-Lagergren, L. (2017), Breastfeeding in the context of domestic violence – a cross sectional study. J Adv NursDO10.1111/jan.13339

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