The impact of BMI on maternal feeding choices

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Overweight or obese mothers face challenges in breastfeeding and breastfeeding duration, according to new research presented in a poster session at the NAPNAP 2024 National Conference on Pediatric Health Care in Denver, Colorado.

The impact of BMI on maternal feeding choices  Image Credit: © Анастасія Стягайло - © Анастасія Стягайло - stock.adobe.com.

The impact of BMI on maternal feeding choices Image Credit: © Анастасія Стягайло - © Анастасія Стягайло - stock.adobe.com.

Breastfeeding has shown to provide various benefits to both mothers and infants. However, mothers who are overweight or obese are more likely to breastfeed for shorter durations or not breastfeed at all when compared to mothers of normal weight, according to new research presented in a poster session at the NAPNAP 2024 National Conference on Pediatric Health Care in Denver, Colorado.

Study investigators from the University of Florida and Florida State University sought to understand why obese or overweight mothers are less likely to breastfeed by identifying the contributing factors to breastfeeding in mothers with different body mass index (BMI) scores.

In the study, researchers recruited individuals from their community to take part in a survey about the challenges and concerns during the fourth trimester, defined as birth to 3 months.

Responses were collected about mothers’ experiences from pregnancy through the postpartum period. Data was also gathered regarding depression, race, body shape perception, current breastfeeding status, and BMI score. The authors state a logistic regression was utilized to observe predictors of breastfeeding at the completion of the survey.

Results of the study indicated that in mothers who responded that they did not breastfeed, their BMI score was also higher (n = 88) (p = 0.006, OR 0.77, CI [0.63,0.91]). This result was consistent when controlling for depression, race, marital status, baby age, and perception of body image, according to investigators.

Moreover, mothers with a normal BMI score (20-25 BMI) were 9.78 times more likely to breastfeed vs mothers with a higher BMI (>30 BMI) (p = 0.04, CI [0.005,0.81]).

The study authors state that the results of this analysis confirm previous literature that mothers with a higher BMI need more support both breastfeeding and breastfeeding for a longer duration. They state that further mixed-methods analyses are needed to help clinicians provide better support for breastfeeding in mothers with a high BMI.

“Pediatric nurse practitioners should be aware that mothers of a higher BMI may need additional support during the postpartum period to be successful in breastfeeding,” the study author concluded.

This article was published by our sister publication Contemporary Pediatrics.

Reference:

Bahorski J, Wright S, Gao G, Lemas, D. The role of body-mass-index in breastfeeding. Paper presented at: NAPNAP National Conference on Pediatric Health Care. March 13-16, 2024. Denver, CO.

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