Effects of breastfeeding on postpartum weight loss among U.S. women

Prev Med. 2014 Dec;69:146-50. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.09.018. Epub 2014 Oct 5.

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of breastfeeding on maternal weight loss in the 12months postpartum among U.S. women.

Methods: Using data from a national cohort of U.S. women conducted in 2005-2007 (N=2102), we employed propensity scores to match women who breastfed exclusively and non-exclusive for at least three months to comparison women who had not breastfed or breastfed for less than three months. Outcomes included postpartum weight loss at 3, 6, 9, and 12months postpartum; and the probability of returning to pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) category and the probability of returning to pre-pregnancy weight.

Results: Compared to women who did not breastfeed or breastfed non-exclusively, exclusive breastfeeding for at least 3months resulted in 3.2 pound (95% CI: 1.4,4.7) greater weight loss at 12months postpartum, a 6.0-percentage-point increase (95% CI: 2.3,9.7) in the probability of returning to the same or lower BMI category postpartum; and a 6.1-percentage-point increase (95% CI: 1.0,11.3) in the probability of returning to pre-pregnancy weight or lower postpartum. Non-exclusive breastfeeding did not significantly affect any outcomes.

Conclusion: Our study provides evidence that exclusive breastfeeding for at least three months has a small effect on postpartum weight loss among U.S. women.

Keywords: Breastfeeding; Infant Feeding Practices Study II; Obesity; Weight loss.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Weight Loss / physiology*
  • Women's Health
  • Young Adult