Breastfeeding can help to combat obesity, according to Dr Suzanne Colson, a midwifery expert from Canterbury Christ Church University.
Dr Colson's research into a breastfeeding technique called "biological nurturing", which helps mothers who find breastfeeding a challenge, is currently being piloted in a practice development project funded by East Kent Coastal Primary Care Trust. The biological nurturing techniques will be particularly useful for women who are overweight or obese.
Dr Colson said: "Breastfeeding is an important way to address obesity, which has become an urgent public health issue. Breastfeeding helps mothers to lose weight stored during pregnancy and breastfed babies are less likely to become overweight children. Interestingly, obese mothers may be less likely to initiate breastfeeding because latching on may be more difficult for infants of obese women than infants of normal weight women."
Dr Colson's research into breastfeeding techniques will help mothers who are overweight and find breastfeeding difficult. She found that mothers who breastfeed their infants semireclined or in laid back positions (as opposed to lying on their side or sitting upright) had the greatest success.
She said: "I looked at a new approach to breastfeeding called 'biological nurturing' and found that the babies' positions when mothers who used laid back postures mirrored the feeding positions of other mammals helped mothers to enjoy breastfeeding and to breastfeed for longer."
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