Aims: To evaluate how maternal overweight impacts exclusive breastfeeding (BF), total duration of BF and the age of introduction of complementary foods (CF) and whether these have effect on children’s growth from 0 to 2 years.
Methods: From 1797 families participating to the Finnish STEPS Study, 848 children had data on breastfeeding and anthropometric data from 13 months and 2 years of age. Data on BF and CF were collected by self-administered follow-up diary. Information regarding maternal weight, height, pregnancy and delivery were received from maternity clinics and the National Longitudinal Census Files. Children’s weight and length/height were recorded during the study visits at 13 months and 2years.
Results: Overweight women breastfed exclusively (2.2 vs. 2.8 mo, P<0.0001) and totally (7.4 vs. 9.0 mo, P<0.0001) shorter time and introduced CF earlier (4.1 vs. 4.3 mo, P=0.02) than normal weight women. Children of overweight women were heavier and had higher BMI at 2 years than children of normal weight women. At 2 years of age 30% of boys and 17% of girls were overweight or obese. Children’s obesity risk was not increased by maternal overweight (OR 1.04, P=0.12). Longer duration of full BF (OR 0.86, P=0.04) and partial BF (OR 0.91, P=0.02) and later introduction of CF (OR 0.69, P=0.03) were protective against obesity.
Conclusions: Our study suggests that women who were overweight or obese before pregnancy breastfed for shorter time and introduced CF earlier than normal weight women, which may further impact children’s growth.
Funding source: N/A.