Breastfeeding has been associated with many health benefits for both infant and mother. Trait mindfulness during pregnancy may have a beneficial impact on breastfeeding intention. The current study aimed to examine whether trait mindfulness during pregnancy was associated with antenatal breastfeeding intention.
Design, setting and participants:
The current study is part of a large prospective population-based cohort study among pregnant women in the south of the Netherlands. Measurements: A subsample of participants completed the Three Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire-Short Form at 22 weeks of pregnancy and a question on their breastfeeding intention at 32 weeks of pregnancy (N=790). Moreover, the Edinburgh Depression Scale and Tilburg Pregnancy Distress scale were completed at 32 weeks of pregnancy to assess levels of distress.
Univariate analyses showed that women with breastfeeding intention during pregnancy had significantly higher scores on the mindfulness facet non-reacting (p<.001, medium effect size) and significantly lower scores on acting with awareness (p=.035, small effect size). A subsequent multiple logistic regression analysis showed that only non-reacting remained significantly associated with antenatal breastfeeding intention (OR=1.09, 95% CI [1.03, 1.15], p=.001), after controlling for confounders. Women who eventually initiated breastfeeding had significantly higher non-reacting scores (p<.001, small to medium effect size).
The mindfulness facet non-reacting was found to be associated with antenatal breastfeeding intention. More research is needed to confirm our results, since the current study is one of the first assessing the possible relation of trait mindfulness during pregnancy and breastfeeding intention.
Implications for practice:
Mindfulness-based programs during pregnancy could be helpful in improving non-reacting in pregnant women, which may enhance breastfeeding intention and ultimately the initiation of breastfeeding.