KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CBS St. Louis) – According to a new study, obese mothers are not as likely to breast-feed as their thinner counterparts.
Researchers analyzed data from over 66,500 new mothers across 25 states between 2009 and 2010. The study found that obese women were 16 percent more likely to say that they had breast-fed their baby, compared to normal-weight women.
The study concluded that overall, about 75 percent of obese women said they breast-fed, compared with 81 percent of normal-weight women.
Researchers took other factors into consideration, such as smoking, giving birth prematurely, and depression.
The study did not determine a link between obesity and a lower likelihood of breast-feeding.
Older studies have suggested that it takes one day longer for an obese woman’s body to reach her full milk supply than a normal weight woman. Dr. Teresa Orth, a maternal fetal medicine fellow at the Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, and a researcher on the study, said that may be the reason obese woman switch to formula.
Orth also suggested that some obese women can have trouble positioning their babies to breast-feed.
Orth went on to say in the study that obese women may need additional help with breast-feeding.
“Just like if a woman was at high risk for high blood pressure, we would check her blood pressure more often, well if she’s at high risk for having breast-feeding issues or breast-feeding failure, we should check in with her more often so that she has the resources she needs,” Orth told Live Science.
The Truman Medical Center provides a number to all women who need assistance with breast-feeding.
Breast-feeding has been shown to reduce the risk of health problems such as childhood obesity, sudden infant death syndrome, and other childhood infections.
The findings were presented at the meeting of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.