Some mothers experience neutral or negative feelings toward their new infant. This study examined the association between symptoms of postnatal depression and mother-infant bonding and the persistence of these feelings over the first year. Bonding was assessed using the Mother-Infant Bonding Scale (MIBQ), at four times postnatal, “early weeks” (1-4 weeks), 9 weeks, 16 weeks and 1 year, in 50 depressed, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression scale (EPDS) ≥13 at 4 weeks post natal, and 29 non-depressed mothers. A significant association between the EPDS score at 4 weeks and bonding score at 1-4 weeks, 9 weeks, and at 1 year postnatal, χ (2)(1) = 9.85, p < 0.01, 5.44, p < 0.05 and 5.21, p < 0.05, respectively, was found, with a trend at 16 weeks. There was a strong association between bonding in the early weeks and all later time points χ (2)(1) = 17.26, p < 0.001, 7.89, p < 0.01 and 13.69, p < 0.001, respectively. Regression showed early bonding rather than early depression was the major predictor of bonding at 1 year. Women who are depressed postnatally can fail to bond well with their baby and this can persist for a year. Early identification and intervention for poor bonding is indicated.
DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT