Women are often advised that lactation accelerates loss of the excess weight gained during pregnancy, but the evidence underlying this advice is sparse and conflicting. The aim of this study is to show the relation of full breast feeding with mothers' weight change, and to assess traditional practices in Iraqi population during breast feeding period. Longitudinal study was conducted in Babylon governorate, Iraq, during the period of 1 September, 2013 to 30 February, 2014. The collected baseline data at the time of requirement was 6 weeks and 6 months after delivery. The study sample was divided into two groups: full breast feeding (FBF) and mixed feeding group (MF). The sample was convenient, while the questionnaires include socio-demographic factors, parity, gender of baby, type of delivery, history of previous infertility, birth space, pre-pregnancy body weight, and her weight at 6 months after delivery. The questionnaires also include dietary habit during full breast feeding that includes: use of herb remedies, favorite and food they avoided. Weight (kg) and Height (cm) were measured. 175 mothers participated in the study, and they were divided into 2 groups: FBF group and MF. Full breast feeding group were younger than mixed or non- full breast feeding group. 66% of FBF had history of normal vaginal delivery with significant difference between them regarding type of delivery, and 80% of FBF group had no history of infertility compare to 63% in MF group who had history of infertility with significant difference regarding history of infertility and birth interval between 2 groups. There was no significant difference regarding pre- pregnancy body mass index between the groups and the weight change from 6 weeks to 6 months. 39.3% of FBF group reported the use of herb remedies during breast feeding fully. The most common food item avoided during full breast feeding was onion and Dates was the most favorite food. This result provide further evidence that full breast feeding promotes greater weight loss than mixed feeding among mothers even in the early months after delivery.
Key words: Weight loss, dietary habits, breast feeding.
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