The objectives of the study were to (1) investigate the relationship between breast-feeding initiation and duration and patterns of perinatal depressive symptoms and (2) identify the sociodemographic correlates of such initiation and duration.
Method: A sample of 2365 women in their second and third trimesters and 6 weeks postdelivery was recruited via systematic sampling from 6 regional public hospitals in Hong Kong. The women were identified as having perinatal depressive symptoms, using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Their sociodemographic variables were investigated using the empirical evidence.
A total of 285 (47.66%) of the participants were found to have initiated breast-feeding, of whom 222 had breast-fed for more than 3 weeks. Logistic regression analysis revealed a monthly family income less than HK$5,000 to be significantly associated with breast-feeding initiation and that housewives or part-time workers with antenatal depressive symptoms at 32 weeks of gestation were significantly more likely to breast-feed for longer duration.
These findings help explicate breast-feeding practices among Chinese women and indicate that effective breast-feeding promotion should consider sociodemographic correlates and perinatal depressive symptoms. The study's limitations and implications are discussed.