Association between Support from a Health Professional and Breastfeeding Knowledge and Practices Among Obese Women: Evidence from the Infant Practices Study II

Marian Jarlenski, Jenny McManus, Marie Diener-West, Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, Edwina Yeung, Wendy L. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Obese women are less likely to initiate and continue breastfeeding. We described barriers to breastfeeding and examined the association between support from a health professional and breastfeeding knowledge and practices, by prepregnancy obesity status. Methods: Using data from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II, a cohort of U.S. women (. N=2,997), we performed descriptive statistics to describe barriers to breastfeeding by prepregnancy obesity status. We conducted multivariable regression to examine the association of breastfeeding support from a physician or nonphysician health professional with knowledge of the recommended duration of breastfeeding, breastfeeding initiation, and breastfeeding duration, and whether breastfeeding support had different associations with outcomes by prepregnancy obesity status. Average marginal effects were calculated from regression models to interpret results as percentage-point changes. Findings: Believing that formula was as good as breast milk was the most commonly cited reason for not initiating breastfeeding, and milk supply concerns were cited as reasons for not continuing breastfeeding. Physician breastfeeding support was associated with a 9.4 percentage-point increase (. p<.05) in breastfeeding knowledge among obese women, although no increase was observed among nonobese women. Breastfeeding support from a physician or nonphysician health professional was associated with a significantly increased probability of breastfeeding initiation (8.5 and 12.5 percentage points, respectively) and breastfeeding for 6months (12.5 and 8.4 percentage points, respectively), without differential associations by prepregnancy obesity. Conclusions: Support for exclusive breastfeeding is an important predictor of breastfeeding initiation and duration among obese and nonobese women. Health educational interventions tailored to obese women might improve their breastfeeding initiation and continuation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-648
Number of pages8
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Volume24
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery

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