The perceptions and experiences of women with a body mass index ≥ 30 kg m2 who breastfeed: a meta-synthesis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Stephanie Lyons
  • Sinead Currie
  • Sarah Peters
  • Tina Lavender
  • Debbie Smith
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12813
Number of pages11
JournalMaternal and Child Nutrition
Volume15
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2019
Breastfeeding has copious health benefits for both mother and child, but rates of initiation and maintenance amongst women with a BMI ≥30kg/m2 are low. Few interventions aiming to increase these rates have been successful, suggesting that breastfeeding behaviour in this group is not fully understood. Therefore, this review aimed to systematically identify and synthesise the qualitative literature which explored the perceptions and experiences of women with a BMI ≥30kg/m2 who breastfed. The search identified five eligible papers, and a meta-ethnographic approach was taken to synthesise the findings. One theme was identified: ‘weight amplifies breastfeeding difficulties’, revealing that women with a BMI ≥30kg/m2 experience common breastfeeding difficulties to a greater degree. In particular, women with a BMI ≥30kg/m2 struggle with the impact of medical intervention, doubt their ability to breastfeed, and need additional support. These findings can inform understanding of breastfeeding models, future research directions, intervention development and antenatal and postnatal care for women with a BMI ≥30kg/m2.

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External organisations

  • University of Manchester
  • University of Stirling

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