Influence of postpartum depression and maternal employment status on attitude towards exclusive breast feeding

  • Emmanuel Ekpedoho Abiama
  • Stephanie Onyinyechi Ezeh


Exclusive breastfeeding has been recognized as an important public health tool for the primary prevention of child morbidity and mortality. The current study investigated the influence of postpartum depression and maternal employment status on attitude toward exclusive breastfeeding in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. One hundred and eighty seven nursing mothers with age ranging from 18-55 years were selected for the study. Two instruments - Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and Attitude Towards Breasting Scale were used for data collection. It was hypothesized that high postpartum depression will predict negative attitude
toward exclusive breastfeeding; and participants who were unemployed will have positive attitude towards exclusive breastfeeding. Hierarchical multiple regression was used for data analysis. Results indicated that postpartum depression significantly predicted attitude towards exclusive breastfeeding, β = .53, t (183) = 11.74, p <.01; and that maternal employment status significantly predicted attitude towards exclusive breastfeeding β = .42, t (182) = 11.77, p <.01. In other words, having depressive symptoms after childbirth and being in formal employment was associated with negative attitude towards exclusive breastfeeding.
Findings imply that there is need for psychosocial interventions to ameliorate postpartum depression and support employed nursing mothers in order to have positive disposition toward exclusive breastfeeding.