Impact of birth complications upon breastfeeding

Brown, A., & Jordan, S. (2013). Impact of birth complications on breastfeeding duration: an internet survey. Journal of advanced nursing, 69(4), 828-839.

 

13718085_10209676163569913_1265031078_oWhy do the research?

Women who experience complications during childbirth are less likely to breastfeed, or continue breastfeeding compared to those who have a straightforward vaginal birth. However, reasons for this are not fully understood. Might childbirth experience directly affect breastfeeding experience?

 

Who took part?

Six hundred and two mothers with a baby aged 6 – 12 months completed a questionnaire about their childbirth experience and how long they breastfed for. If they stopped breastfeeding before six months, they also answered questions on why they stopped.

 

What did we find?

Mothers who had a complicated birth were less likely to breastfeed at birth, or if they did, breastfed for a shorter duration than those who had a straightforward vaginal delivery.

Amongst mothers who stopped breastfeeding before six months, those who had a complicated birth were more likely to stop breastfeeding due to pain or difficulty than those who had a straightforward delivery.

 

What does this mean?

Birth complications may directly affect experience of breastfeeding making it more difficult or painful. This might be because hormones are disrupted, the mother is more exhausted or the mother or baby in discomfort from the delivery. Mothers may also be feeling like their body has let them down during birth, and might do so if they breastfeed. More support is needed to help mothers who have had a difficult delivery start and continue breastfeeding.

 

You can download a copy of the paper here: Impact of birth complications on breastfeeding duration