Objectives This study examines the extent to which a mother’s pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) category is associated with her exposure to pro-breastfeeding hospital practices. Methods Data from the 2004–2008 CDC PRAMS were analyzed for three states (Illinois, Maine, and Vermont) that had administered an optional survey question about hospital pro-breastfeeding practices. Results Of 19,145 mothers surveyed, 19 % were obese (pre-pregnancy BMI ≥ 30). Obese mothers had lower odds than mothers of normal weight of initiating breastfeeding [70 vs. 79 % (unweighted), p < 0.0001]. Compared with women of normal weight, obese mothers had lower odds of being exposed to pro-breastfeeding hospital practices during the birth hospitalization. Specifically, obese mothers had higher odds of using a pacifier in the hospital [odds ratio (OR) 1.31, 95 % confidence interval (CI) (1.17–1.48), p < 0.0001] and lower odds of: a staff member providing them with information about breastfeeding [OR 0.71, 95 % CI (0.57–0.89), p = 0.002], a staff member helping them breastfeed [OR 0.69, 95 % CI (0.61–0.78), p < 0.0001], breastfeeding in the first hour after delivery [OR 0.55, 95 % CI (0.49–0.62), p < 0.0001], being given a telephone number for breastfeeding help [OR 0.65, 95 % CI (0.57–0.74), p < 0.0001], rooming in [OR 0.84, 95 % CI (0.73–0.97), p = 0.02], and being instructed to breastfeed on demand [OR 0.66, 95 % CI (0.58–0.75), p < 0.0001]. Adjusting for multiple covariates, all associations except rooming in remained significant. Conclusions Obesity stigma may be a determinant of breastfeeding outcomes for obese mothers. Breastfeeding support should be improved for this at-risk population.
- Pre-pregnancy BMI
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health