Breastfeeding attitudes among women who give birth to large babies

The positive effects of breastfeeding could be especially helpful for women who give birth to large babies. Our researchers are finding out how women with larger babies feel about breastfeeding, and exploring how long they breastfeed for.
  • Author's list

    Professor Debra Bick; Dr Joseph Chilcot; Ms Philippa Davie

Start: September 2017

End: August 2020

Breastfeeding is free and has many benefits for both mother and child. It helps new mothers lose the baby weight put on during pregnancy and lowers their risk of cancer, while also protecting babies from infection and lowering their chances of obesity as they grow up.

The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a baby’s life, but in the UK, only 30% of mothers are still doing this when their baby is 6–8 weeks old.

Looking for barriers to breastfeeding

The positive effects of breastfeeding could be especially helpful for women who give birth to large babies, so we want to learn more about how many of these women breastfeed and what factors influence their decision. We will talk to women who attended clinics at St Thomas’ Hospital to find out how long they breastfed for, and whether they breastfed exclusively or instead introduced formula or weaned their child early. We will compare the results for women with larger babies and those whose babies had an average birthweight. We will ask women with larger babies how they feel about breastfeeding, and what might influence their decision not to try or to stop early.

The second focus of our research is to speak to women who have a high risk of having a large baby because they are overweight  or have diabetes during pregnancy.

We want to see if these women make different choices about feeding than other women, and whether breastfeeding can affect the health of women who had diabetes during pregnancy.

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