During the Fourth Trimester, one in five new mums will experience a mental health issue*
Ahead of World Mental Health Day on 10th October, we’re shining a light on the importance that mental health support can bring to new mums, especially in the all-important Fourth Trimester, and how this could increase confidence with breastfeeding.
This comes as new research, recently uncovered by Lansinoh, highlights that one in five new mums will experience a mental health issue, but 85% of mums believe society does not understand or support mothers enough.
To support this, we’ve launched our ‘Mama Promise’ campaign, to encourage friends and family members of new mums to pledge to support them in whatever way they can. This doesn’t need to be anything extraordinary, but could be something thoughtful, such as promising to make a cooked meal for the new mum, or just being at the end of the phone during a midnight feed. The campaign will run throughout October across our social media channels.
Research shows mums are more likely to achieve their goals, when they have support from friends and family members*
Breastfeeding is recognized by health organizations like the WHO (World Health Organization) to be key to public health. “We are committed to doing all we can to support breastfeeding mothers,” explains Kevin Vyse-Peacock, CEO of Lansinoh. He continues, “Studies conducted all over the world have shown that support from partners, family and friends, healthcare professionals, and employers are critical for breastfeeding mothers–yet 85% of mothers report that they do not feel adequately supported. We are working to close this gap.”
“The three months after birth are often called the Fourth Trimester. During this period, one in five new mums will experience a mental health issue. Mums are navigating hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and their own physical recovery while breastfeeding their baby around the clock. Support from the mother’s community is essential. The challenge is that people want to help, but often don’t know how.”
What can you do to support a new mum?
We’ve also teamed up with Rosey Adams, founder of PND and Me, who will be sharing her experiences with us on our social channels throughout October. Here, Rosey shares four top tips for how friends and family can support a mum on her journey.
Offer to help with practical tasks
A lot of practical things can really help new mums when they’re breastfeeding. Such as providing meals or offering to take the baby for a bit to give mum a break. Women need that mental space to be able to have those self-care moments, which is really important. Having support from family and friends to allow them to do that is really valuable.
Look for changes in their mood and behaviour
Changes in mood and how they are presenting themselves should be noted. If they are more withdrawn and emotional, friends and family should flag this and open up the conversation.
Being aware of how they usually are, compared to how they are acting, will help you decide if you should address it. Mums with maternal mental health illnesses tend to put on a brave face, but you can tell if you really sit down with someone you know well if they’re doing okay or not.
Ask her directly what support she needs
Asking the mum what she needs is the best place to start – whether it’s something practical (such as helping to cook a meal or looking after the baby so she can shower or sleep), or if she needs emotional support of just being there and listening. It can be really hard going as a new mum so offering the chance for her for a slight break is really valuable.
Read between the lines
A lot of the time, mums will say “oh I don’t need any help” – but sometimes it’s about reading between the lines and just doing what you think might help. Even simple things like if you go and visit a new mum, don’t expect them to make a cup of tea you do that yourself or bring a meal for her. Being aware of what mum might need is really important. Those little things make all the difference.
- 17 out of every 20 (85%) moms think society doesn’t understand or support mothers enough. (2019). Motherly’s 2019 State of Motherhood. Retrieved from https://www.mother.ly/2019-state-of-motherhood-survey
- Decades of research conducted all over the world shows that breastfeeding mothers are more likely to reach their goals when they have support from partners, extended family, friends, employers, and healthcare professionals –and it’s important that support comes from all parts of a mother’s community. McFadden A, Gavine A, Renfrew MJ, Wade A, Buchanan P, Taylor JL, Veitch E, Rennie AM, Crowther SA, Neiman S, MacGillivray S. Support for healthy breastfeeding mothers with healthy term babies. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD001141. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001141.pub5.Rollins, N., Bhandari, N., Hajeebhoy, N. Horton, S., Lutter, C.K., Martines, J.C, Piwoz, E.G., Richter, L.M., Victora, C.G. Breastfeeding 2: Why Invest, and What Will it Take to Improve Breastfeeding Practices? The Lancet2016; 387: 491-504.Meedya, S., Fahy, K., Kable, A. Factors that positively influence breastfeeding duration to 6 months: A literature review. Women and Birth 2010; Volume 23, Issue 4: 135-145. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2010.02.0023
- Mums are much more likely to meet their breastfeeding goals if their partner is clued up about breastfeeding too. Meedya, S., Fahy, K., Kable, A. Factors that positively influence breastfeeding duration to 6 months: A literature review. Women and Birth 2010; Volume 23, Issue 4: 135-145. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2010.02.0024
- Mothers who have paid maternity leave and access to lactation rooms after returning to work are significantly more likely to continue breastfeeding. Rollins, N., Bhandari, N., Hajeebhoy, N. Horton, S., Lutter, C.K., Martines, J.C, Piwoz, E.G., Richter,L.M., Victora, C.G.Breastfeeding 2: Why Invest, and What Will it Take to Improve Breastfeeding Practices? The Lancet2016; 387: 491-504.
- $341.3 BILLION… that’s how much could be saved each year if every new mum worldwide had proper breastfeeding support. Most of the savings is found in healthcare. Walters, D.D., Phan, L.T.H., Mathisen, R. The cost of not breastfeeding: global results from a newtool. HealthPolicyandPlanning, Volume 34, Issue 6, July 2019, Pages 407-417,https://doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czz0506
- Social media is a great way to support a new mother. Positive messages and support can help to encourage breastfeeding initiation. Rollins, N., Bhandari, N., Hajeebhoy, N. Horton, S., Lutter, C.K., Martines, J.C, Piwoz, E.G., Richter,L.M., Victora, C.G. Breastfeeding 2: Why Invest, and What Will it Take to Improve Breastfeeding Practices? The Lancet2016; 387: 491-504
- During the fourth trimester, one in five new moms will experience a mental health issue. The combined period prevalence shows that as many as 19.2% (7.1%) of women have a depressive episode (major depressive episode) during the first 3 months postpartum: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16260528/