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Early lactation failure and formula adoption after elective caesarean delivery: cohort study


Objective To investigate the effects of elective primary and elective repeat caesarean deliveries on lactation at hospital discharge.

Design Cohort study.

Setting Four Italian teaching hospitals – Padua, Brescia, L'Aquila and Udine.

Interventions Deliveries were classified as vaginal, elective caesarean (primary and repeat) or emergency caesarean. A total of 2296 (24.7%) infants born by caesarean section (CS), 816 of which (35.5%) classified as primary elective CS and 796 (34.7%) as repeat elective CS, were studied. Moreover, 30.2% of the elective CS deliveries took place before 39 weeks.

Main outcome measures Feeding modalities at discharge: formula, complementary and breastfeeding.

Results At discharge, 6.9% of the vaginal delivery mothers, 8.3% of the emergency CS mothers, 18.6% of the elective CS mothers, 23.3% of the primary CS mothers and 13.9% of the repeat CS mothers were using infant formula exclusively. Multivariate analysis (OR; 95% CI) identified primary elective delivery (3.74; 3.0 to 4.60), lower gestational age (1.16; 1.10 to 1.23), and place L'Aquila versus Udine (1.42; 1.01 to 2.09) and of Brescia versus Udine hospitals (6.16; 4.53 to 8.37) as independent predictors of formula feeding at discharge.

Conclusions These findings provide new information about the risks of breastfeeding failure connected to elective CS delivery, particularly if primary and scheduled before 39 weeks of gestation.

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