The impact of maternal stress on initiation andestablishment of breastfeeding

Karolina Doulougeri*, Efharis Panagopoulou, Anthony Montgomery

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to explore the impact of maternal stress on initiation, and establishment of breastfeeding.

Ninety five women were included in the study. Maternal stress was assessed: (1) objectively, with plasma cortisol levels taken from participants' as well as the umbilical cord blood, 10 min after delivery; (2) subjectively, with self-reported questionnaires administered 1 h and 4 days after delivery. Detailed records of breastfeeding parameters were obtained.

Multivariate analyses indicated that controlling for age, and use of epidural during labor, post-delivery stress score was significantly associated with delayed initiation of lactation, lower milk volume, less frequent feedings and shorter duration of first feeding. Mothers' positive emotions were positively associated with feed frequency. Cortisol levels were not significantly related to initiation and establishment of breastfeeding.

Maternal stress after delivery can hinder the establishment of successful breastfeeding practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-167
JournalJournal of Neonatal Nursing
Issue number4
Early online date13 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


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