chapter  6
14 Pages

Breastfeeding and body size

ByNicola L. Hawley, Pavane Gorrepati

Rising global obesity has led to ongoing debate about breastfeeding and its association with maternal and infant body size. While there are clearly defined biological mechanisms that link maternal body size and breastfeeding success, beliefs and cultural norms may be equally important. Many societies also have their own beliefs about optimal feeding practices for child growth and, importantly, their own definitions of healthy infant/childhood weight. This chapter summarizes the complex existing literature on these topics, and an American Samoan case study exemplifies how preferences for infant body size may be directly associated with breastfeeding practices.