Wednesday, January 27, 2010

British research: C-sections 'do not affect how long a mum breastfeeds'

The BBC reports today on new British research that suggests: "Having a Caesarean or instrumental birth does not appear to impact upon how long a mother breastfeeds".

In a study of 2,000 mothers who received breastfeeding support (conducted by the University of Manchester and East Lancashire Primary Care Trust), there was also "little association with how soon after birth the baby was put to the breast", but what "did have an impact was ethnicity, and the number of previous births,".

Maternal request breastfeeding study
This is good news for women planning a cesarean delivery birth, and indeed there are a number of studies that indicate positive breastfeeding experiences are more likely to follow positive birth experiences (regardless of whether the birth is vaginal or cesarean).

However, in the interests of balance, and since the above research focuses on breastfeeding longevity, I would remind readers of a Swedish study - specifically looking at women following cesarean delivery on maternal request - that found these women "were breastfeeding to a lesser extent three months after birth" when compared with a vaginal delivery group.

Voluntary end to breastfeeding?
I guess the other question to ask in these types of studies is whether the cessation of breastfeeding is voluntary or not. Anecdotally for example, I breastfed my first child for 3 months, but was not distressed by switching to 100% formula at that time, and in fact with my second child, I chose not to breastfeed; it had nothing to do with my delivery method.

Incidentally, the 2007 Swedish study I refer to, 'Cesarean section on maternal request: reasons for the request, self-estimated health, expectations, experience of birth and signs of depression among first-time mothers', by Wiklund et al, also found that:

"After planned cesarean section women in this group reported a better birth experience compared to women planning a vaginal birth ."

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