Objectives: 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.
Results: 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$5000 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.
Conclusions: 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.