Journal of South Asian Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Register      Login

VOLUME 15 , ISSUE 2 ( March-April, 2023 ) > List of Articles


Benefits of Breastfeeding on Child and Postpartum Psychological Health of the Mother

Shreya Gupta, Apurva Arvind Pawade

Keywords : Alzheimer's disease, Breastfeeding, Exclusive breastfeeding, Lactational amenorrhea, Maternal stress, Postpartum depression

Citation Information : Gupta S, Pawade AA. Benefits of Breastfeeding on Child and Postpartum Psychological Health of the Mother. J South Asian Feder Obs Gynae 2023; 15 (2):218-222.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10006-2217

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 11-05-2023

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2023; The Author(s).


Aim: The aim of this study was to summarize different types of benefits that have been observed in the baby's development and the mother's psychological health during the postpartum period. Background: Breastfeeding is a natural process that plays a vital role in the physical as well as mental health of the mother and child. Breast milk is rich in contents such as proteins, fats, and vitamins, which are responsible for building the immune system of the baby. Lactation helps in decreasing the prevalence of infant mortality rate. It enhances the development of the physical health of the children. Breastfeeding protects the mother from many systemic conditions like endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, etc. It has been observed that with an increase in healthy breastfeeding practices, there is a decline in the cases of maternal mental health issues reported mainly in the postpartum period. Review result: The authors have explained various types of advantages of breastfeeding on the child's and mother's health, their mechanism of action, effects on the baby, and mother–child relationship. Conclusion: The mother's mental health plays a crucial role in a healthy infant, and breastfeeding is key to it. The role of breastfeeding is therefore considered a boon for the mother because if there is a decrease in health issues in the child, the mother's mental condition improves automatically. Therefore, breastfeeding should be promoted at the national level. Clinical significance: Breastfeeding not only helps in reducing maternal stress and postpartum depression but also improves the physical health of the child and mother during the postpartum period. The clinicians should teach mothers about the importance and also the correct positions of breastfeeding. “Breastfeeding week” is celebrated every year from August 1 to August 7, as implemented by the Indian government.

  1. Krol KM, Grossmann T. Psychological effects of breastfeeding on children and mothers. Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz 2018;61(8):977–985. PMCID: PMC6096620.
  2. Hinde K, German JB. Food in an evolutionary context: Insights from mother's milk. J Sci Food Agric 2012;92(11): 2219–2223. DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.5720.
  3. Breastfeeding is negatively affected by prenatal depression and reduces postpartum depression. Available from: Accessed on: 2 October 2022.
  4. Oftedal OT. The evolution of milk secretion and its ancient origins. Animal 2012;6(3):355–368. DOI:
  5. Nommsen LA, Lovelady CA, Heinig MJ, et al. Determinants of energy, protein, lipid, and lactose concentrations in human milk during the first 12 mo of lactation: The DARLING Study. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;53(2):457–465. DOI:
  6. Arslanoglu S, Moro GE, Ziegler EE. Nutrition the WWG on. Optimization of human milk fortification for preterm infants: New concepts and recommendations. J Perinat Med 2010;38(3):233–238. DOI:
  7. Greer FR. Do breastfed infants need supplemental vitamins? Pediatr Clin North Am 2001;48(2):415–423. DOI:
  8. Dawodu A, Zalla L, Woo JG, et al. Heightened attention to supplementation is needed to improve the vitamin D status of breastfeeding mothers and infants when sunshine exposure is restricted. Matern Child Nutr 2014;10(3):383–397. PMCID: PMC3461108.
  9. yuyuricci. Breastfeeding. 10:08:27 UTC. Available from: Accessed on: 7 October 2022.
  10. Victora CG, Bahl R, Barros AJD, et al. Breastfeeding in the 21st century: Epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect. Lancet 2016;387(10017):475–490. DOI:
  11. Effect of breastfeeding on infant and child mortality due to infectious diseases in less developed countries: A pooled analysis. Lancet 2000;355(9202):451–455. DOI:
  12. Optimal breastfeeding practices and infant and child mortality: A systematic review and meta-analysis - Sankar - 2015 - Acta Paediatrica - Wiley Online Library. Available from: Accessed on: 2 October 2022.
  13. Short-term effects of breastfeeding: A systematic review on the benefits of breastfeeding on diarrhoea and pneumonia mortality. Available from: Accessed on: 2 October 2022.
  14. Long-term consequences of breastfeeding on cholesterol, obesity, systolic blood pressure and type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis - Horta - 2015 - Acta Paediatrica - Wiley Online Library. Available from: Accessed on: 2 October 2022.
  15. Breastfeeding and intelligence: A systematic review and meta-analysis - Horta - 2015 - Acta Paediatrica - Wiley Online Library [Internet]. Available from: Accessed on: 2 October 2022.
  16. Vohr BR, Poindexter BB, Dusick AM, et al. Persistent beneficial effects of breast milk ingested in the neonatal intensive care unit on outcomes of extremely low birth weight infants at 30 months of age. Pediatrics 2007;120(4):e953–959. DOI:
  17. Menon G, Williams TC. Human milk for preterm infants: Why, what, when and how? Arch Dis Childhood: Fetal Neonatal Ed 2013;98(6): F559–562. DOI:
  18. Differences between exclusive breastfeeders, formula-feeders, and controls: A study of stress, mood, and endocrine variables - Maureen W. Groër, 2005. Available from: Accessed on: 2 October 2022.
  19. Mezzacappa ES, Kelsey RM, Katkin ES. Breast feeding, bottle feeding, and maternal autonomic responses to stress. J Psychosomatic Res 2005;58(4):351–365. DOI:
  20. Breastfeeding, brain activation to own infant cry, and maternal sensitivity - Kim - 2011 - Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry - Wiley Online Library. Available from: Accessed on: 2 October 2022.
  21. Feldman R, Weller A, Zagoory-Sharon O, et al. Evidence for a Neuroendocrinological Foundation of Human Affiliation: Plasma oxytocin levels across pregnancy and the postpartum period predict mother-infant bonding. Psychol Sci 2007;18(11):965–970. DOI:
  22. Krol KM, Kamboj SK, Curran HV, et al. Breastfeeding experience differentially impacts recognition of happiness and anger in mothers. Sci Rep 2014;4:7006. PMCID: PMC4228331..
  23. The relationship between infant-feeding outcomes and postpartum depression: A qualitative systematic review. Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics. Available from: Accessed on: 2 October 2022.
  24. Dias CC, Figueiredo B. Breastfeeding and depression: A systematic review of the literature. J Affect Disorders 2015;171:142–154. DOI:
  25. Ceulemans M, Verbakel JY, Van Calsteren K, et al. SARS-CoV-2 infections and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in pregnancy and breastfeeding: Results from an observational study in primary care in Belgium. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020;17(18):6766. PMCID: PMC7559009.
  26. Kumar S, Rathore P, Shweta, et al. Why i can't breastfeed my new-born baby? Psychosocial dilemma of a COVID-positive post-LSCS mother. Indian J Palliat Care 2020;26(Suppl 1):S150–152. PMCID: PMC7534992.
  27. Wang Y, Chen L, Wu T, et al. Impact of Covid-19 in pregnancy on mother's psychological status and infant's neurobehavioral development: A longitudinal cohort study in China. BMC Med 2020;18(1):347. DOI:
  28. Closeness and separation in neonatal intensive care - Flacking - 2012 - Acta Paediatrica - Wiley Online Library [Internet]. Available from: Accessed on: 7 October 2022..
  29. Snyder K, Worlton G. Social support during COVID-19: Perspectives of breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeed Med 2021;16(1):39–45. DOI:
  30. Aggarwal R, Srivastava A, Radhika AG, et al. Childbirth experience of mothers in COVID times. J South Asian Feder Obstet Gynaecol 2022;14(4):365–369. DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10006-2088.
  31. Pacheco F, Sobral M, Guiomar R, et al. Breastfeeding during COVID-19: A narrative review of the psychological impact on mothers. Behav Sci (Basel) 2021;11(3):34. PMCID: PMC7999784.
  32. Fox M, Berzuini C, Knapp LA. Maternal breastfeeding history and Alzheimer's disease risk. J Alzheimer's Dis 2013;37(4):809–821. DOI: 10.3233/JAD-130152t.
  33. Nayak S, Shetty PK. A study on challenges faced by mothers and the coping strategies adopted by them during the postpartum period. J South Asian Feder Obstet Gynaecol 2016;9(4):348–355. DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10006-1527.
  34. Altemus M, Deuster PA, Galliven E, et al. Suppression of hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal axis responses to stress in lactating women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1995;80(10):2954–2959. DOI:
PDF Share
PDF Share

© Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) LTD.