Breast-feeding reduces maternal lower-body fat

J Am Diet Assoc. 1993 Apr;93(4):429-33. doi: 10.1016/0002-8223(93)92289-a.


The effect of breast-feeding on maternal anthropometric measures during the first 6 postpartum months was studied in 24 women. Mothers, who were seen in the hospital shortly after delivery and at monthly intervals thereafter, kept a record of their infant-feeding practices and provided three 24-hour dietary recalls per month. The women were placed in one of three groups according to their infant-feeding practices: breast-feeding exclusively, combination of breast- and formula-feeding, and formula-feeding only. Changes in anthropometric variables at 6 months postpartum were similar in the three groups, but mothers who breast-fed exclusively or partially had significantly larger reductions in hip circumference measurements (3.6% and 3.1%, respectively) and were less above their prepregnancy weights at 1 month postpartum (7.8% and 8.5% above prepregnancy weight, respectively) than mothers who fed formula exclusively (0.68% reduction in hip circumference and 13.7% above prepregnancy weight). Our findings indicate that a woman's choice of infant-feeding practice influences postpartum anthropometric changes, but these effects may be temporary.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Bottle Feeding
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Diet Records
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hip
  • Humans
  • Lactation / metabolism*
  • Motor Activity
  • Postpartum Period / metabolism*
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Thigh
  • Weight Loss*