Hospital breastfeeding support and exclusive breastfeeding by maternal prepregnancy body mass index

Laura Kair, Nathan C. Nickel, Krista Jones, Katelin Kornfeind, Heather L. Sipsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Overweight and obese mothers in the United States have disproportionately lower rates of exclusive breastfeeding than mothers of normal weight. The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding (Ten Steps), a series of evidence-based practices designed to support breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity, demonstrate effectiveness at the population level. It is unknown, however, whether they are consistently provided to women across all maternal body mass index (BMI) categories. We sought to determine whether pre-pregnancy BMI is associated with the implementation and effectiveness of the Ten Steps. We used data from Listening to Mothers III, a cross-sectional survey administered to a sample of mothers who delivered in U.S. hospitals between July 2011 and June 2012. Measures of the Ten Steps were based on maternal self-report on Listening to Mothers III. Our analytic sample was limited to mothers of term infants intending to breastfeed (N = 1,506, weighted). We conducted chi-square testing and constructed weighted multivariable logistic regression models to account for potential confounders. Results suggest that two practices (i.e., holding their babies skin-to-skin for the first time and being encouraged to breastfeed on demand) were more strongly associated with exclusive breastfeeding among mothers with obesity than other mothers. Additionally, mothers with obesity reported holding babies skin-to-skin significantly less often than other mothers. Thus, interventions aimed at helping mothers with obesity to hold their babies skin-to-skin in the first hour and teaching them to breastfeed on demand have the potential to decrease the breastfeeding disparities in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12783
JournalMaternal and Child Nutrition
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • baby friendly hospital initiative
  • breastfeeding
  • breastfeeding duration
  • breastfeeding promotion
  • breastfeeding support
  • maternal obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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