Background: Separate care for a new mother and infant may affect the duration of breastfeeding, breastfeeding behaviour and may have an adverse effect on neonatal and maternal outcomes.
Objectives: To assess the effect of mother-infant separation versus rooming-in on the duration of breastfeeding (exclusive and total duration of breastfeeding).
Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (30 June 2012).
Selection criteria: Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the effect of separate mother-infant care versus rooming-in after hospital birth or at home on the duration of breastfeeding, proportion of breastfeeding at six months and adverse neonatal and maternal outcomes.
Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently assessed the studies for inclusion and assessed trial quality. Two review authors extracted data. Data were checked for accuracy.
Main results: There were 23 reports from 19 potential trials identified. After assessment, one trial (involving 176 women) met our inclusion criteria.One trial reported an overall median duration of any breastfeeding of four months. Exclusive breastfeeding before discharge from hospital (at day four postpartum) was significantly lower in the separate care group compared with the rooming-in group (risk ratio (RR) 0.58; 95% CI 0.42 to 0.81; one trial, 141 women).
Authors' conclusions: We found little evidence to support or refute the practice of mother-infant separation versus rooming-in. Therefore, we see no reason to practise it. We recommend a well designed RCT to investigate full mother-infant rooming-in versus partial rooming-in or separate care on all of the primary and secondary outcomes suggested.