The association between caesarean delivery and the initiation and duration of breastfeeding: a prospective cohort study in China

Yuanjue Wu, Yan Wang, Junmei Huang, Zhen Zhang, Jing Wang, Li Zhou, Zemin Ni, Liping Hao, Nianhong Yang, Xuefeng Yang
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2018 April 18

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Breastfeeding is of great benefit to infants and their mothers. Caesarean delivery (CD) have increased worldwide in recent years and emerging evidence has implied that CD may influence the initiation and duration of breastfeeding. However, the findings are inconsistent and intricate. The aim of this study is to illuminate the association between the CD and the initiation and duration of breastfeeding in the first 6 months postpartum.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: A total of 2058 mother-infant pairs were studied in this prospective study. Delivery information was obtained from birth records. Feeding information in the first 6 months postpartum were collected from face-to-face interviews. Logistic regression was used to explore the association between CD and the initiation and duration of breastfeeding.

RESULTS: After adjustment for potential confounders, CD was significantly associated with the unsuccessful initiation of breastfeeding [odds ratio (OR): 1.943, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.050-3.597] and delayed initiation of breastfeeding [OR: 1.450, (95% CI: 1.041-2.019)], when compared with vaginal delivery (VD). More importantly, for mothers who had initiated breastfeeding, CD was associated with significantly higher risks of an inability to sustain full breastfeeding (OR: 1.369, 95% CI: 1.128-1.662), any breastfeeding at 3 months postpartum (OR: 1.715, 95% CI: 1.265-2.325) and any breastfeeding at 6-month postpartum (OR: 1.462, 95% CI: 1.174-1.820).

CONCLUSIONS: CD is an independent risk factor for the inability to initiate and sustain breastfeeding. It is desirable to reduce the CD rate and provide specific breastfeeding support during early postpartum period to CD mothers.

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