Breastfeeding practices: does method of delivery matter?

Matern Child Health J. 2012 Dec;16 Suppl 2:231-7. doi: 10.1007/s10995-012-1093-9.


Objective of this study was to assess the relationship between method of delivery and breastfeeding. Using data (2005-2006) from the longitudinal Infant Feeding Practices Study II (n = 3,026) we assessed the relationship between delivery method (spontaneous vaginal, induced vaginal, emergency cesarean, and planned cesarean) and breastfeeding: initiation, any breastfeeding at 4 weeks, any breastfeeding at 6 months, and overall duration. We used SAS software to analyze data using multivariable analyses adjusting for several confounders, including selected demographic characteristics, participants' pre-delivery breastfeeding intentions and attitude, and used event-history analysis to estimate breastfeeding duration by delivery method. We found no significant association between delivery method and breastfeeding initiation. In the fully adjusted models examining breastfeeding duration to 4 weeks with spontaneous vaginal delivery group as the reference, those with induced vaginal deliveries were significantly less likely to breastfeed [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 0.53; 95 % CI = 0.38-0.71]; and no significant relationship was observed for those who had planned or emergency cesarean deliveries. Again, compared with spontaneous vaginal delivery group, those with induced vaginal [AOR = 0.60; 96 % CI = 0.47-0.78] and emergency cesarean [AOR = 0.68; 96 % CI = 0.48-0.95] deliveries were significantly less likely to breastfeed at 6 months. Median breastfeeding duration was 45.2 weeks among women with spontaneous vaginal, 38.7 weeks among planned cesarean, 25.8 weeks among induced vaginal and 21.5 weeks among emergency cesarean deliveries. While no significant association was observed between delivery method and breastfeeding initiation; breastfeeding duration varied substantially with method of delivery, perhaps indicating a need for additional support for women with assisted deliveries.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods
  • Delivery, Obstetric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult