New Zealand: overweight mothers more likely to stop breastfeeding

07 November 2018

Overweight mothers are more likely than their healthy-weight counterparts to stop breastfeeding in the first week after having a baby, a new study says.

Researchers from the University of Auckland analysed data from 17,113 mothers. Of that sample, 70% of mothers initiated breastfeeding – with underweight, healthy-weight and overweight mothers similarly likely to begin breastfeeding.

But overweight mothers were more likely to cease within the first week – with more than a quarter doing so.

They were also less likely to continue beyond four months: 38% of healthy-weight mothers who initiate breastfeeding continue beyond that point, compared with 32% of mothers classed as overweight, and 27% of mothers classed as obese.

The paper, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, concludes: ‘Pre-pregnancy overweight may provide a useful means through which to target early postnatal support services, which have been indicated as effective in promoting initiation and continuation of breastfeeding.’

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