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The impact of cesarean section (CS) birth and pethidine for post-CS epidural analgesia on early breastfeeding behavior is unclear. This study aimed to measure infant sucking and breastfeeding behavior in infants of mothers who delivered by CS (CS group) and used pethidine patient-controlled epidural analgesia (PCEA) after CS with that of infants who were delivered by vaginal birth (V group), during secretory activation and again after the establishment of lactation. Sucking dynamics and milk intake of breastfeeding infants were assessed on approximately 3 and 20 (follow-up) days postpartum (CS group, n=19; V group, n=15). Nipple diameters, tongue movement, and nipple position during sucking were measured from ultrasound scans of the intra-oral cavity during breastfeeding. Time of the first breastfeed and day of breast fullness were recorded, and infant neurobehavior was assessed. CS infants displayed more anterior tongue movement on Day 3 than at follow-up compared with the V group, which showed a similar amount of movement at each assessment (p for interaction<0.001). Compared with the V group, the CS group showed faster suck rates, especially on Day 3 (p<0.001), later times to first breastfeed (p=0.01) and breast fullness (p=0.03), and lower neurobehavioral scores (p=0.047). Breastfeeding duration and milk intake were similar between groups. Although the observed effect of CS birth followed by pethidine PCEA after CS during the period of secretory activation was small, our results indicate that successful initiation of lactation may require additional breastfeeding support and monitoring at Day 3 postpartum for mothers who undergo CS.


Vanessa S Sakalidis, Tracey M Williams, Anna R Hepworth, Catherine P Garbin, Peter E Hartmann, Michael J Paech, Yasir Al-Tamimi, Donna T Geddes. A comparison of early sucking dynamics during breastfeeding after cesarean section and vaginal birth. Breastfeeding medicine : the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. 2013 Feb;8(1):79-85

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PMID: 22845858

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