Learning from women with a body mass index (BMI) ≥30kg/m2 who have breastfed and/or are breastfeeding: A qualitative interview study

Stephanie Lyons, Sinead Currie, Debbie M Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)
    39 Downloads (Pure)


    Women with a BMI ≥30kg/m2 are less likely to initiate and maintain breastfeeding compared to women with a BMI ≤30kg/m2. Reasons for this disparity are not understood. Therefore,this qualitative interview study aimed to learn from women with a BMI ≥30kg/m2 who have breastfed.

    Eighteen women participated in a semi-structured telephone interview. Participants were required to have had a BMI ≥30kg/m2 at the start of their pregnancy, and have breastfed and/or be currently breastfeeding. An inductive thematic analysis was used to analyze data.

    Two themes were identified: ‘personal control over breastfeeding behavior’ and ‘realistic expectations of the breastfeeding journey’. To achieve their breastfeeding goals, women described the importance of feeling in control of their behaviors, and having realistic expectations, when facing social and practical barriers. They gained this control and formed realistic expectations by seeking support and information. In particular, gaining support from other breastfeeding women with a BMI ≥30kg/m2, and information about alternative positioning, and compatible clothing and nutrition helped women to breastfeed.

    Conclusions for Practice
    Having adequate information and support in order to feel in control of breastfeeding behavior and form realistic expectations are vital contributors to breastfeeding behaviors in womenwith a BMI ≥30kg/m2. Future work is necessary to develop suitable interventions and to investigate their feasibility.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)648-656
    Number of pages9
    JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
    Issue number5
    Early online date4 Jan 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2019


    • Breastfeeding
    • experiences
    • obesity
    • Body Mass Index


    Dive into the research topics of 'Learning from women with a body mass index (BMI) ≥30kg/m2 who have breastfed and/or are breastfeeding: A qualitative interview study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this