Overweight Moms Need Support to Prevent Breastfeeding Problems
By now, everyone is very familiar with the recommendation from pediatricians and other health experts that breastfeeding during the first year of life is best for both mother and baby in terms of nutritional quality and prevention of long-term chronic diseases. Some women have more difficulty than others with problems with breastfeeding, including those who are overweight, obese, or have very large breasts.
A Queensland University of Technology (QUT) survey found that simply understanding the benefits of breastfeeding was not enough to initiate the practice in some moms. The most important factor to successful breastfeeding was having support from both professionals and from family and friends.
"Ensuring that new mums get the support they need to cope with the often difficult task of breastfeeding is essential to boosting breastfeeding rates and increasing the length of time women breastfeed,” said Joy Parkinson, PhD candidate and lead study author.
Here in the US, two presentations will be given at the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting in Anaheim CA this week as part of the scientific program of the American Society for Nutrition. Scientists from the University of Connecticut, Hartford’s Hispanic Health Council, the Hartford Hospital, and Yale University will speak about their findings that peer counseling and support can substantially improve breastfeeding success among high-risk women, including those who are obese.
Breast size does not affect milk production, which is a function of the glandular tissue inside the breast as well as the baby's appetite and suckling ability. However, women with large breasts, DD or above, may find difficulty in comfortable positions and techniques which cause a less successful breastfeeding experience if not given resources to help prevent problems.
Dr. Donna Chapman, Assistant Director of the Center for Eliminating Health Disparities among Latinos (CEHDL) and colleagues studied 154 women recruited during pregnancy who were overweight or obese (BMI greater than 27) and hoping to successfully breastfeed. Seventy-six comprised the “intervention” group, which received home visits during late pregnancy and in the first few months after birth where they were offered help for breastfeeding problems and provided breast pumps to those who needed them.