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Pregnancy-related weight retention can contribute to obesity, and breast-feeding may facilitate postpartum weight loss. We investigated the effect of breast-feeding on postpartum weight retention.
A retrospective follow-up study of weight retention, compared in women who were fully breast-feeding, combining breast-feeding with formula-feeding (mixed feeding), or formula-feeding at 3 months (n 14 330) or 6 months (n 4922) postpartum, controlling for demographic and weight-related covariates using multiple linear regression.
The North Carolina Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
Participants in the North Carolina WIC Programme who delivered a baby between 1996 and 2004.
In covariate-adjusted analyses, there was no association between breast-feeding and weight retention at 3 months postpartum. At 6 months postpartum, as compared to formula-feeders, mean weight retention was 0·84 kg lower in mixed feeders (95 % CI 0·39, 1·29; P = 0·0002) and 1·38 kg lower in full breast-feeders (95 % CI 0·89, 1·87; P ≤ 0·0001).
Breast-feeding was inversely associated with weight retention at 6 months postpartum in this large, racially diverse sample of low-income women. Further, full breast-feeding had a larger protective effect than did breast-feeding combined with formula-feeding.
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