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Birth. 1998 Dec;25(4):222-5.

Early postpartum discharge and subsequent breastfeeding.

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Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Central Hospital, Karslstad, Sweden.



Early postpartum discharge of babies was gradually introduced in Sweden in the 1980s on ideological grounds, based on the premise that maternity wards were unnatural settings for mothers and babies and hampered breastfeeding. From about 1990, early discharge was used as a means to reduce costs. The purpose of this study was to examine if mandated early discharge at Central Hospital of Karlstad, Sweden, influenced subsequent breastfeeding.


Breastfeeding outcomes of infants up to six months of age of all births in 1993 (n = 3231) were compared with the outcome of newborns in 1990 (n = 1462).


Breastfeeding at six months postpartum continued to increase during the early 1990s for both healthy and sick infants, irrespective of whether or not they were discharged early. In infants born in 1995 the breastfeeding rate at six months was 64 percent for healthy newborns and 53 percent for sick newborns.


Factors other than the time of discharge, most likely a positive change of attitude in society and vigorous introduction of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, seem to have been more important for successful breastfeeding.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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