The mode of delivery influences breastfeeding practices. High rates of caesarean section and low breastfeeding rates are important public health concerns for all developing countries. This study aimed to determine the relationship between caesarean section and early breastfeeding practices among primiparae.
Data for primiparae with a singleton birth (N=777) obtained from the 2013 Turkey Demographic and Health Survey were used in this retrospective cohort study. Early initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of delivery and exclusive breastfeeding during the first three days following birth were evaluated. Standardised incidence rates and standardised rate ratios of non-early initiation of breastfeeding and non-exclusive breastfeeding were calculated according to the mode of delivery.
The late initiation of breastfeeding and non-exclusive breastfeeding incidence rates were 42.7 and 41.0%, respectively. The standardised incidence rate of late initiation of breastfeeding among women with vaginal delivery was 35.34%, versus 50.49% among those with caesarean delivery. The standardised rate ratios for late initiation of breastfeeding and non-exclusive breastfeeding were 1.428 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.212–1.683) and 1.468 (95% CI: 1.236–1.762), respectively. Women who underwent caesarean section had a higher risk of late initiation of breastfeeding and non-exclusive breastfeeding during the three days following delivery, after controlling for sociodemographic and delivery-related factors.
This study provides useful evidence for the implementation of strategies to prevent unnecessary caesarean sections, which negatively affect not only maternal health but also neonatal health. The promotion of mother-friendly policies by healthcare institutions, implemented in a baby-friendly manner, is essential.