The cesarean section rates in the developed countries are well above the 5% to 15% rate of all births as suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2009 and currently range widely between 25% and 50%. Moreover, the WHO guidance promotes early breastfeeding initiation during the first hour postpartum, exclusive breastfeeding up until the 6th month and maintaining breastfeeding at least up to the second year of the infant’s life. In this review, we discuss the current evidence on whether a cesarean section interferes with the initiation and the long-term duration of breastfeeding practice among new mothers. The literature shows that a cesarean birth does have a detrimental effect on breastfeeding outcomes, however it is not per se a negative factor. It rather seems that infants who have feeding difficulties in the immediate postpartum period may experience long term problems. Therefore, interventions are discussed to promote breastfeeding after cesarean section for health professionals. Emphasis is given on promoting early skin-to-skin contact and on counseling new mothers about the advantages of breastfeeding as well as providing practical support and guidance throughout the early postpartum period.
Part of the book: Current Topics in Caesarean Section