Date of Publication
Dr. Briana Jegier, Assistant Professor, Health Science
This study examined the impact of obesity on breastfeeding duration at 6 months using secondary data analysis of maternal survey responses from 829 mothers with complete data on obesity status and breastfeeding duration who had participated in a prospective cohort study that examined infant feeding practices during the first 6 months of infant life and maternal return to work.
The independent variable for this study was obesity status. This was a categorical variable that was defined as obese/overweight (BMI>25) and normal weight (BMI<25). The dependent variable for this study was duration of any breastfeeding in days during the infant’s first 6 months of life or the time the mother provided her last survey. Some mothers returned their survey after 6 months and thus breastfeeding duration data was available beyond the infant’s first 6 months of life. This was a categorical variable that was defined as yes if any breastfeeding at 6 months occurred or no if breastfeeding had been discontinued. The control variables for this study were maternal age, minority status, WIC status, delivery type, employed/in school during pregnancy, planning to return to work/school within 6 months, infant in the NICU, mother on Medicaid, tobacco use, alcohol use, medical risk factors during pregnancy (e.g. hypertension), procedures during this pregnancy, depression during pregnancy.
This study demonstrated that overweight/obese mothers had longer duration of breastfeeding compared to normal weight mothers. This study also demonstrated that in this sample normal weight mothers were more likely to have other known risk factors that lower breastfeeding duration including participating in WIC, having a c-section, and planning to return to work or school within 6 months of delivery. Taken together, these findings suggest that these other risk factors might be stronger predictors of breastfeeding duration compared to obesity. Healthcare and public health practitioners can use this information to inform their breastfeeding education practices.
Wiltbank, Jennifer, "The Effect of Maternal Obesity on Breastfeeding at 6 Months" (2014). Senior Honors Theses. 91.