Caesarean section delivery and breastfeeding initiation at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital

  • D D Awi
  • E A Alikor


Background: Caesarean section (CS) presents a challenge for early breastfeeding of the newborn infant. It is expected that with the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), mothers who deliver by CS can be helped to initiate breastfeeding early. Objectives: This study aims to determine the time of initiation of breastfeeding in mothers who delivered by CS and to find the effect of certain factors on the time of breastfeeding initiation. Methods: A prospective cross-sectional study was carried out at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH). Information was obtained using a structured questionnaire, medical record review, and observation technique on 238 mothers who delivered by CS and their babies. The difference in the mean time of breastfeeding initiation in mothers in some socio-demographic groups was compared using the Student t test. Results: No mother in the study group initiated breastfeeding within 30 minutes of recovery of consciousness. The overall mean time of breastfeeding initiation was 6.0 ± 3.8 hours. There was no significant difference between mean time of breastfeeding initiation and whether spinal/general anaesthesia (t= 1.3, p=0.25), whether elective or emergency CS (t= 2.93, p=0.089) and other demographic and social variables. Post operative pains (71%) and lack of help from hospital staff (23%) are the main reasons given by the mothers for delayed initiation of breastfeeding. Conclusions/Recommendations: Initiation of breastfeeding in babies delivered by CS in our Hospital is grossly delayed. Steps to encourage early initiation of breastfeeding in these babies through adequate pain relief, early assistance to put child on breast and other programs aimed at promoting appropriate breastfeeding practices among CS mothers are recommended.

Keywords: Breastfeeding, Initiation, Caesarean section

PHMJ Vol. 2 (2) 2008: pp. 103-109

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eISSN: 0795-3038