Objective: Maternal obesity is associated with poor breastfeeding outcomes, yet no intervention has been developed to improve them. To ascertain whether increased breastfeeding support or provision of a breast pump is a feasible, effective intervention to improve breastfeeding, we enrolled obese women who intended to breastfeed in two randomized trials.
Methods: In Bassett Improving Breastfeeding Study (BIBS) 1, 40 women received targeted breastfeeding support in the hospital and via telephone or usual care. Information regarding breastfeeding was collected via telephone for 7 days after delivery and at 30 and 90 days postpartum. In BIBS 2, 34 obese mothers received a manual or electric breast pump to use for 10-14 days or no pump; data collection was similar.
Results: In both experiments, randomization failed to distribute women of differing postpartum body mass index adequately among the treatment groups. When analyses were adjusted for this, there was no difference in BIBS 1 between targeted and usual care groups and in BIBS 2 among the treatment groups in the proportion of women still breastfeeding at the times studied.
Conclusions: In future studies of obese women, stratified randomization may be necessary. Further development of interventions to help obese women achieve optimal breastfeeding outcomes is required.