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As the mother transitions from the prenatal period to the postpartum period, the new occupational role of motherhood emerges. In this perspective, infant feeding is considered a co-occupation when discussing maternal functioning. The emergence into this new chapter requires adaptation and adjustment to the mothers’ occupational roles, routines, and identity. Occupational therapy practitioners (OTPs) are equipped to provide holistic, client-centered interventions to address occupational dysfunctions during this maternal role transition (Slootjes et al., 2016). However, there are significant gaps in the literature of the OT profession that discusses the role of OTPs within in interdisciplinary healthcare team for perinatal care with a specific lack of research relevant to the interplay as a co-occupation. There is a need for the OT profession to further examine how the foundation of OT practice would be an optimal fit for addressing how the interplay of breastfeeding as a co-occupation impacts perinatal mental health, molding the maternal role transition and identity among postpartum women.

The purpose of this capstone project was the explore the emerging role of occupational therapy within the breastfeeding dyad population and how this co-occupation impacts perinatal mental health. The focus of this descriptive pilot study was to understand the confidence levels, opinions, and perceptions in practice of occupational therapy practitioners specializing in perinatal/postpartum care. This preliminary descriptive pilot study consisted of a 27-question survey. The researchers will continue to collect data following the completion of this capstone project.

Publication Date

Spring 4-14-2022


University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences


breastfeeding, perinatal mental health, co-occupations, women's health, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders

Medical Subject Headings

Breast Feeding, Mothers, Depression, Postpartum, Pilot Projects, Occupational Therapy, Patient Care Team


Occupational Therapy


Poster presented at the Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium, held online at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences April 12-15, 2022.

The Intersection of Breastfeeding Dyads and the Impact on Perinatal Mental Health