A prospective matched cohort study was carried out in Alberta, Canada to determine whether hospital re-admission within the first 2 months of life decreases the odds of predominant breastfeeding.

Mothers were recruited if they delivered a singleton infant between 34 and 41 weeks’ gestation and were discharged within 7 days. Re-admitted infants were matched to non-re-admitted infants by site and date of birth. A total of 1,798 mothers were eligible for analysis, (n=250 re-admitted, 1548 non-re-admitted). Data was collected by questionnaire at 2 months postpartum.

The biggest cause of readmission was jaundice. A total of 73% reported predominant breastfeeding at 2 months. Infant re-admission was not associated with discontinuation of predominant breastfeeding. However, what this study did show was that the odds of predominantly breastfeeding were two times greater if mothers’ perceptions of talking about breastfeeding with a healthcare provider were positive versus negative.

The research demonstrated that, in Alberta, hospital re-admission had no significant impact on the odds of predominant breastfeeding beyond 8 weeks postpartum, whereas the odds were increased with a perception of a positive experience in speaking with a healthcare provider. The researchers recommend increased emphasis on assisting healthcare providers with the necessary skills to impart information in non-judgmental and supportive ways, particularly with primiparous women.

McNeil DA, Siever J, Tough S, et al (2012). Hospital re-admission of late preterm or term infants is not a factor influencing duration of predominant breastfeeding. Arch. Dis. Child. Fetal Neonatal Ed. published 29 June 2012, 10.1136/archdischild-2011-300889