Background/Aims: The aim of this study is to compare breastfeeding duration for obese and non-obese primiparous Australian women; to investigate differences between weight categories in their antenatal confidence in attaining their own breastfeeding goals and comfort breastfeeding in several social contexts.
Methods: Primiparous women (n=488) enrolled in the Feeding Queensland Babies Study self-completed questionnaires antenatally and at 2, 4, 6, 9 and 12 months of infant age. Breastfeeding duration was calculated by Kaplan Meier survival analysis and compared using the log rank test. We used binary logistic regression to compare women by weight groups on measures of breastfeeding confidence and comfort.
Results: Breastfeeding was initiated by 96% of participants. Obese women showed significantly shorter breastfeeding duration than non-obese women. The log-rank test statistic was 7.21; p=0.007. Non-obese and obese women were equally likely to report confidence in meeting their own breastfeeding goals. A significant difference was identified for comfort in breastfeeding in the presence of close women friends (OR=0.41; CI=0.18-0.90) such that obese women were significantly more likely to feel uncomfortable than non-obese women.
Conclusions: Social, cultural, psychological and physiological mechanisms may be implicated in observed negative effects of perinatal obesity on breastfeeding duration. We confirmed the disparity in breastfeeding duration between categories of obese and non-obese women. Differences were identified between groups in women’s feeling of comfort in some social breastfeeding contexts. Better understanding such concerns may facilitate improved breastfeeding duration and normalise breastfeeding for all new mothers.
Funding Source: QHealth: Maternal and Infant Nutrition Unit.