DOI: 10.3390/healthcare12010038 ISSN: 2227-9032

Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding and Maternal Sexuality among Polish Women: A Preliminary Report

Anna Weronika Szablewska, Anna Michalik, Agnieszka Czerwińska-Osipiak, Sebastian Artur Zdończyk, Marcin Śniadecki, Katarzyna Bukato, Wanda Kwiatkowska
  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Leadership and Management

Although postpartum sexual problems are common, there is a poor understanding of the underlying influencing factors and the impact of the infant feeding method on the mother’s sexual life. A cross-sectional control study was conducted with a group of 253 women during their postpartum period. This study aimed to investigate the effects of different infant feeding methods on female sexual life after childbirth. The study followed the STROBE guidelines for cross-sectional control analysis. The study design included a questionnaire characterizing sociodemographic, obstetric and breastfeeding variables and the PL-FSFI (Female Sexual Function Index). The authors collected the data in compliance with the CAWI (Computer-Assisted Web Interview) research methodology—an interview conducted via an Internet channel. Each respondent received and completed the survey provided to them via the same online link. This study included women in the postpartum period: 170 breastfeeding women (study group) and 83 formula-feeding women (control group). There were statistically significant difference between the groups that practiced different types of breastfeeding. Out of all the PL-FSFI-assessing domains, the highest average score for the whole group correlated with satisfaction and the lowest score correlated with lubrication use. Our findings indicate that women practicing only breastfeeding are more likely to develop sexual problems. In order to maintain sexual health and promote long-term breastfeeding, extensive and professional counseling is needed for couples about postpartum sexuality and the factors that affect it, such as breastfeeding.

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