Skip to main content
Submitted by krewersf on 4 December 2018

Breastfeeding studies continue to suggest that breastfed infants are lighter in body weight.  This is probably due to changes in gut microbiome, although this is not clear yet.  Good news,  breastfeed your baby and give them a lighter body weight in the future. 


J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2018 Nov 27. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2018.7393. [Epub ahead of print]

Breastfeeding Greater Than 6 Months Is Associated with Smaller Maternal Waist Circumference Up To One Decade After Delivery.

Snyder GG1, Holzman C2, Sun T3, Bullen B2, Bertolet M1,3, Catov JM1.



Abdominal obesity is an important indicator of cardiometabolic dysfunction in later life. Prior studies have observed an inverse association between breastfeeding and maternal waist circumference (WC) in the years after pregnancy, but this may be due to bias resulting from systematic differences in women who do and do not breastfeed.


A total of 678 women enrolled in the Pregnancy Outcomes and Community Health (POUCH) cohort also participated in the POUCHmoms Study 7-15 years after delivery. Multivariable linear regression models and propensity scores were used to assess the relationship between WC measured at follow-up and self-reported history of breastfeeding duration of >6 months versus ≤6 months.


After a mean follow-up period of 11.0 (standard deviation = 1.4) years, breastfeeding was significantly associated with smaller WC. A threshold effect was detected for women who reported breastfeeding >6 months; their adjusted mean WC was 3.5 cm (95% confidence interval [CI]: -5.7 to -1.2) smaller compared with women who breastfed ≤6 months. The use of two propensity score approaches, weighted and matched, produced similar results; adjusted mean WC difference was -3.6 cm (95% CI: -5.6 to -1.6) and -3.1 cm (95% CI: -5.5 to -0.7), respectively.


This study extends conventional observational study methods to incorporate propensity score approaches that make it possible to separate the study design from the study analysis to account for systematic differences in women who did and did not breastfeed. After reducing potential bias, breastfeeding for greater than 6 months was independently associated with smaller WC in the decade after delivery.


breastfeeding; maternal obesity; propensity score; waist circumference

PMID: 30481097