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Birth. 2014 Dec;41(4):330-8. doi: 10.1111/birt.12135. Epub 2014 Oct 8.

Hospital care and early breastfeeding outcomes among late preterm, early-term, and term infants.

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Division of Neonatology and Division of Hospital Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation and Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, USA.



Compared with term infants (39-41 weeks), early-term (37-38 weeks) and late preterm (34-36 weeks) infants have increased breastfeeding difficulties. We evaluated how hospital practices affect breastfeeding by gestational age.


This Listening to Mothers III survey cohort included 1,860 mothers who delivered a 34-41-week singleton from July 2011 to June 2012. High hospital support was defined as at least seven practices consistent with the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative's Ten Steps for United States hospitals. Logistic regression tested mediating effects of hospital support on the relationship between gestational age and breastfeeding at 1 week postpartum.


High hospital support was associated with increased exclusive breastfeeding (AOR 2.21 [95% CI 1.58-3.09]). Just 16.4 percent of late preterm infants experienced such support, compared with early-term (37.9%) and term (30.7%) infants (p = 0.004). Although overall breastfeeding rates among late preterm, early-term, and term infants were 87, 88, and 92 percent, respectively, (p = 0.21), late preterm versus term infants were less likely to exclusively breastfeed (39.8 vs. 62.3%, p = 0.002). Inclusion of hospital support in multivariable modeling did not attenuate the effect of late preterm gestation.


Differences in practices do not account for decreased exclusive breastfeeding among late preterm infants. Hospital supportive practices increase the likelihood of any breastfeeding.


Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative; breastfeeding; early-term; hospital practices; late preterm

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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