Depressed Moms May Have Shorter Kids

Less breastfeeding, stress seen as factors

skeletons arranged by height

Moms who suffer from postpartum depression may be more likely to have shorter kids, a new study in the journal Pediatrics finds.

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Researchers at Johns Hopkins linked the height disparity to less breastfeeding, as well as increased stress that may affect a child’s growth hormones.  

Amy Sullivan, Psy.D., a psychologist at Cleveland Clinic, says that depressed moms tend to struggle more to breastfeed their babies—and are more likely to stop breastfeeding before the recommended minimum six months.

Dr. Sullivan says new moms who are depressed need to get help.

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“Spouses, significant others, family members should help mothers identify this,” Dr. Sullivan says. “Sometimes when people are in the height of depression and they are new mothers, they’re overwhelmed by both things.”

Results show that when compared to children of mothers without depressive symptoms, children of depressed moms had almost a 50 percent greater chance of being among the shortest 10 percent of kids at ages 4 and 5.

More information

Storing Breast Milk 
Depression After the Birth of a Child or Pregnancy Loss

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