Learning from successful breastfeeders who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥30kg/m2

Stephanie Lyons, Debbie Smith

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Breastfeeding has numerous health benefits for mother and child, in particular aiding postpartum weight management in mothers, and protecting against childhood obesity. Therefore, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life is recommended by the World Health Organisation. However, in the UK, current breastfeeding rates are low, with even lower rates amongst women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more. As the number of obese women of childbearing age is rising, it is vital that we develop an understanding of how this population makes decisions about infant feeding practices, in order to better support breastfeeding behaviours. This qualitative study investigated the views and experiences of women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more who had breastfed, to better understand the factors that contributed to their success. This is a novel approach as previous research has focused on identifying and eliminating the barriers for unsuccessful breastfeeding, and has been ineffective in changing behaviour. Ethical approval was received from The University of Manchester (ref: 15453). Eighteen telephone interviews were conducted in December 2015-March 2016 with women aged 18-45, who had BMIs of 30 or more at their antenatal booking appointments and had or were continuing to successfully breastfeed (mean interview length = 41.56 mins, SD = 8.32). A thematic analysis in accordance with Braun & Clarke’s six stages was conducted by two researchers. In this presentation, the themes will be outlined and the implications of these findings discussed in relation to current midwifery practice and breastfeeding support for obese women. Also, how these findings feed into an ESRC funded PhD starting in October 2016 which includes a multi-disciplinary team (psychologists and midwives) and aims to design an intervention to increase breastfeeding behaviour in obese women will be outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 27 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventMaternity, Midwifery & Baby Conference - Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 27 Sept 201627 Sept 2016

Academic conference

Academic conferenceMaternity, Midwifery & Baby Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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