Early initiation of breastfeeding is inversely associated with public and private c-sections in 73 lower- and middle-income countries

Sci Rep. 2022 Dec 6;12(1):21081. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-25564-w.


Although studies in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have examined the effects of c-sections on early initiation of breastfeeding (EIBF), the role of the place of birth has not yet been investigated. Therefore, we tested the association between EIBF and the type of delivery by place of birth. Data from 73 nationally representative surveys carried out in LMICs between 2010 and 2019 comprised 408,013 women aged 15 to 49 years. Type of delivery by place of birth was coded in four categories: home vaginal delivery, institutional vaginal delivery, c-section in public, and c-section in private health facilities. We calculated the weighted mean prevalence of place of birth and EIBF by World Bank country income groups. Adjusted Poisson regression (PR) was fitted taking institutional vaginal delivery as a reference. The overall prevalence of EIBF was significantly lower among c-section deliveries in public (PR = 38%; 95% CI 0.618-0.628) and private facilities (PR = 45%; 95% CI 0.54-0.566) compared to institutional vaginal deliveries. EIBF in c-sections in public facilities was slightly higher in lower-middle (PR = 0.650, 95% CI 0.635-0.665) compared to low (PR = 0.544, 95% CI 0.521-0.567) and upper-middle income countries (PR = 0.612, 95% CI 0.599-0.626). EIBF was inversely associated with c-section deliveries compared to institutional vaginal deliveries, especially in private facilities compared to public ones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Humans