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Title: Body shape and weight loss as motivators for breastfeeding initiation and continuation
Authors: Schalla, Sophie C.
Witcomb, Gemma L.
Haycraft, Emma
Keywords: Benefits
Breastfeeding initiation
Breastfeeding continuation
Body image
Behaviour change
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: MDPI © The Authors
Citation: SCHALLA, S.C., WITCOMB, G.L. and HAYCRAFT, E., 2017. Body shape and weight loss as motivators for breastfeeding initiation and continuation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14 (7), 754.
Abstract: Breastfeeding rates in the UK are low. Efforts to promote breastfeeding typically include the known health benefits for mother and child, many of which are not immediate. Gaining immediate benefits can be effective motivators of behaviour. Body-related changes resulting from breastfeeding could be an immediate benefit. This study explored breastfeeding mothers’ reports of body-related changes as benefits of breastfeeding. Mothers (N = 182) who currently, or had recently, breastfed an infant completed a survey detailing their infant feeding choices and the perceived benefits of breastfeeding on their bodies. Half of the mothers felt that breastfeeding had a positive effect on their body. Benefits were grouped into five themes: (1) Returning to pre-pregnancy body shape; (2) Health benefits; (3) Physical benefits; (4) Eating benefits; (5) Psychological benefits. These themes highlight the numerous body-related benefits that mothers identified as resulting from breastfeeding and suggest that immediate, personal, and appearance-related gains of breastfeeding are highly valued. These findings indicate that interventions would likely benefit from emphasising the more immediate physical and psychological benefits of breastfeeding, alongside the health and bonding benefits, as a way to promote breastfeeding initiation and continuation in more women. This may be particularly effective for groups such as young mothers, where breastfeeding rates are low and whose emphasis on body image may be greater.
Description: This is an Open Access Article. It is published by MDPI under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Sponsor: Loughborough University funded this research.
Version: Published
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph14070754
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/25922
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070754
ISSN: 1660-4601
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)

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