Breastfeeding practices in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) remain unknown. We aimed to characterize these practices and describe factors that may lead to early discontinuation in a pilot, prospective, longitudinal survey study conducted at the University of Alberta Pregnancy IBD clinic. A total of 74 mothers with IBD completed the study. Although 94.6% breastfed at delivery, fewer mothers breastfed at 3 months (73.9%), at 6 months (55.2%) and at 12 months (30.1%) postpartum. The most common reasons for discontinuation of breastfeeding before 6 months were perceived insufficient milk production and concerns of infant medications exposure through breast milk. Compared to those who continued breastfeeding beyond 6 months post partum, those who discontinued before 6 months had lower Crohn’s and Colitis Pregnancy Knowledge scores.

This study has shown us that there is a need to improve education around breastfeeding for mothers with IBD, regarding medication use and infant exposure through breast milk. It also shows us that potentially there may be reduce milk production or a perception of reduced milk production among mothers with IBD, which needs to be studied further.

We thank all study participants and referring clinicians as well as the laboratory scientists who made this research possible!

Read the published manuscript

Parul Tandon, Eugenia Lee, Rohit Jogendran, Karen I Kroeker, Levinus A. Dieleman, Brendan Halloran, Karen Wong, Keri-Ann Berga, Vivian Huang. Breastfeeding Patterns in Mothers with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Pilot Prospective Longitudinal Study. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022;izab354. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izab354. Online ahead of print.

Interested in participating in Research?

At Mount Sinai Hospital Pregnancy IBD clinic, we are currently conducting a study looking at the components of milk from mothers with IBD compared to mothers without IBD. If you are interested in participating, please click the LEARN MORE button or contact us at