Overweight or obese new mothers are not as apt to breastfeed their babies for the whole 6 month or longer postnatal period as women with normal BMIs. A recent study carried out by Australian researchers at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth found that women with extra body weight before pregnancy could not breastfeed their new born offsprings or had to give up breastfeeding their babies after an average period of 2 months.
The study analyzed 1,803 new mothers, out of whom 18% had BMIs higher than 25 before the pregnancy period. Of the obese or overweight women participating in the study, most were not able to stick to breastfeeding after giving birth to the baby. Overweight women could start breastfeeding their toddlers after delivering them, but 52% of them had to stop breastfeeding the babies after 2 months, while 62% had to stop and switch to formula after 4 months.
Breastfeeding problems were more common and serious among obese women as compared to overweight new moms. Obese women had double risk of being unable to continue breastfeeding their babies after a 2 or 4 month period of time after delivery.
On the overall, the findings of the study showed that overweight and obese women were about 76% less likely to stick to the whole 6 month period of breastfeeding as compared to their normal-BMIs counterparts.
Researchers involved in the study stated that possible explanations could be linked to the fact that the body of an overweight or obese woman is different from the one of a normal-weight woman. Women with higher BMIs have a changed hormonal profile, which may cause sustained lactation to become more difficult.
Many previous studies showed that breastfeeding is far healthier for the new born babies than formula. Besides the fact that breastfeeding creates a stronger bond between mother and child, scientists showed that breastfed offsprings are less likely to develop emotional disorders later in life and they also have lower chances of suffering from diarrhea, respiratory, ear infections etc.