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Open Access Maternal Obesity and Breastfeeding

A Review of the Evidence and Implications for Practice

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A myriad of factors influence the sub-optimal breastfeeding rates in the U.S. Among these factors is maternal obesity (BMI > 30 kg/m2), which has been found to negatively impact breastfeeding initiation and duration for some women. Obesity increases women's risk for various complications throughout the perinatal period, which may impact breastfeeding and the long-term health and well-being of women and their children. However, adequate lactation support that upholds a respectful consciousness regarding the potential breastfeeding challenges of women with obesity can assist these women to successfully meet their breastfeeding goals. This review summarizes the literature on the impact of maternal BMI on breastfeeding duration, and maternal and infant risk factors that may complicate lactation for women with obesity. Recommendations for assessing and supporting the needs of mothers with obesity to best achieve their breastfeeding goals are provided.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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