Objectives: High body mass index (BMI) often predicts truncated breastfeeding, although why is unclear. We test a proposed mediating role of body concerns on breastfeeding initiation and child's age at weaning using longitudinal data for 55,522 mothers from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). Methods: A linear regression-based mediation analysis with bootstrapping estimates the indirect effects of BMI on breastfeeding decisions (ever-initiation of breastfeeding, child's age at weaning, and duration of any breastfeeding beyond six months) through the variables of concern around prepregnancy weight and weight gains due to pregnancy. Results: Contrary to prediction, Norwegian mothers with greater prepregnancy weight concerns had a higher likelihood of initiating breastfeeding. Concerns about weight gain during pregnancy, however, predicted earlier weaning. This relationship was the same for higher and lower BMI mothers. Conclusion: In this very large sample, body image affects some breastfeeding decisions. However, this effect is independent of mother's body size.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics