Women who are overweight or obese may be affected by their weight, choosing to bottle feed more often than breastfeed. According to researchers from the Department of Nutrition at the Gilling School of Global Public Health, obese women simply don't attempt to start breastfeeding as often as normal weight women - but why?
The Connection Between Obesity and Lax Breastfeeding is NOT Mental
After taking all confounding factors into considerations, researchers were unable to find a connection between stress, depression or any other mental state and the decrease in obese breastfeeding mothers. This was not what researchers expected. If there was a mental connection, education and possibly medication could be used to treat depression or anxiety after birth to increased the number of obese women who breastfeed. That was not the case.
Could the Connection Be Associated with Food?
As someone who's fought being overweight for life, I wonder if food or eating habits has something to do with it. If you think of it from a food or eating angle, women who're overweight or obese clearly have trouble controlling food intake. The cause of obesity is not clinically certain, but obesity experts believe there are genetic factors. Now, if obese women are not able to easily control food intake to reduce weight, improve health and possibly increase lifespan, why would they give up certain foods to breastfeed when formula is just as healthy? Even if their diet does not have to change, the perception of needing to control diet could be enough to push obese women mentally away from breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is the healthiest option for baby and ALL women who are able to try should try, even if they don't like it and later change to bottle feeding. Breastfeeding supplies baby with vitamins, nutrients and protective antibodies not found in baby formula.
Source: Ushma J. Mehta, Anna Maria Siega-Riz, Amy H. Herring, Linda S. Adair, and Margaret E. Bentley. Breastfeeding Medicine. December 2011, 6(6): 369-376. doi:10.1089/bfm.2010.0052