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Relationships between Breastfeeding Patterns and Maternal and Infant Body Composition over the First 12 Months of Lactation

Gridneva, Zoya, Rea, Alethea, Hepworth, Anna R., Ward, Leigh C., Lai, Ching T., Hartmann, Peter E., Geddes, Donna T.
Nutrients 2018 v.10 no.1
adiposity, appetite, bioelectrical impedance, body mass index, breast feeding, feeding frequency, feeding patterns, infants, lactation, lean body mass, milk consumption, mothers, spectroscopy, ultrasonics
Breastfeeding has been implicated in the establishment of infant appetite regulation, feeding patterns and body composition (BC). A holistic approach is required to elucidate relationships between infant and maternal BC and contributing factors, such as breastfeeding parameters. Associations between maternal and breastfed term infant BC (n = 20) and feeding parameters during first 12 months of lactation were investigated. BC was measured at 2, 5, 9 and/or 12 months postpartum with ultrasound skinfolds (US; infants only) and bioimpedance spectroscopy (infants and mothers). 24-h milk intake (MI) and feeding frequency (FFQ) were measured. Higher FFQ was associated with larger 24-h MI (p ≤ 0.003). Higher 24-h MI was associated with larger infant fat mass (FM) (US: p ≤ 0.002), greater percentage FM (US: p ≤ 0.008), greater FM index (FMI) (US: p ≤ 0.001) and lower fat-free mass index (FFMI) (US: p = 0.015). Lower FFQ was associated with both larger FFM (US: p ≤ 0.001) and FFMI (US: p < 0.001). Greater maternal adiposity was associated with smaller infant FFM measured with US (BMI: p < 0.010; %FM: p = 0.004; FMI: p < 0.011). Maternal BC was not associated with FFQ or 24-h MI. These results reinforce that early life is a critical window for infant programming and that breastfeeding may influence risk of later disease via modulation of BC.