Fatigue and breastfeeding: an inevitable partnership?

J Hum Lact. 2006 May;22(2):182-7. doi: 10.1177/0890334406286972.


Postpartum fatigue is a normal condition that most women experience. Breastfeeding is often associated in women's minds as contributing to the feeling of overall perceived fatigue, and many women indicate that they have ceased breastfeeding because of fatigue. However, the relationship between feeding choice and perceived fatigue has never been established. Two hundred and fifty-three women participated in a study examining whether perceived fatigue differed for bottle-feeding and breastfeeding women at 3 different times during the postpartum period (2-4 days, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks postpartum). Results showed no significant differences for these 2 groups, suggesting that perceived fatigue during the postpartum period is not dependent on feeding choice. Additional analyses examining other variables with a potential effect were nonsignificant. Because perceived physical fatigue does not appear to be dependent on feeding choice, women should be prepared for the feeling of perceived fatigue during the postpartum period while at the same time be reassured that feeding choice is not correlated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bottle Feeding / adverse effects*
  • Bottle Feeding / psychology
  • Bottle Feeding / statistics & numerical data
  • Breast Feeding / adverse effects*
  • Breast Feeding / psychology
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data
  • Cohort Studies
  • Fatigue / epidemiology
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Postpartum Period
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors