Background/Aims: Breastfeeding mothers tend to modify their habitual diet and avoid certain foods. The reasons for this are not fully understood. The aim of this survey was to explore the motives and common dietary practices among breastfeeding mothers and if nutritional intake is compromised.
Methods: An on-line exploratory survey, invited women who had breastfed to participate.
Results: Of the 1,293 respondents, 98% completed the survey and 77% mothers modified their usual diet. The most common reasons were ‘baby was unsettled’ (31%), ‘baby had lots of wind/gas’ (24%), ‘baby had reflux’ (17%) and ‘baby had colic’ (11%). The most common modifications were avoidance of alcohol (79%), coffee (44%), cow’s milk (24%), milk chocolate (22%), chilli (22%) and cabbage and onion (each 20%). Information was sourced from the internet (44%), maternal and child health nurses (40%), the Australian Breastfeeding Association (34%). Sourcing information from paediatricians was less common (10%) and 89% of respondents had never seen a dietitian. 33% removed dairy, but did not replace it with other calcium-rich foods nor did they take a calcium supplement. 32% that modified their diet did not take a suggested breastfeeding multi-vitamin for when the nutrition guidelines are difficult to meet.
Conclusions: Dietary modification among breastfeeding mothers is common practice. The most reported reason was due to an ‘unsettled baby’. The majority of information is sourced from the internet and not from experts in nutrition suggesting this group may be at risk of nutritional inadequacies.
Funding Source: N/A