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Low rates of predominant breastfeeding in hospital after gestational diabetes, particularly among Indigenous women in Australia

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-06-23, 02:18 authored by Catherine Chamberlain, AN Wilson, Lisa AmirLisa Amir, Kerin O'Dea, S Campbell, D Leonard, R Ritte, M Mulcahy, S Eades, R Wolfe
Objectives: To investigate rates of ‘any’ and ‘predominant’ breastfeeding in hospital among Indigenous and non-Indigenous women with and without gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Methods: A retrospective study of singleton infants born from July 2007 to December 2010 at Cairns Hospital, Australia, following GDM pregnancy, using linked hospital and birth data (n=617 infants), with a subsample of medical record reviews (n=365 infants). Aggregate data were used to compare to breastfeeding rates among infants born following non-GDM pregnancy (n=7,894 infants). Results: More than 90% of all women reported any breastfeeding before hospital discharge. About 80% of women without GDM reported predominant breastfeeding. Despite significant increases over time (p<0.0001), women with GDM were less likely to predominantly breastfeed (OR 0.32, 95%CI 0.27–0.38, p<0.0001); with lower rates among Indigenous women (53%) compared with non-Indigenous (60%) women (OR 0.78, 0.70–0.88, p<0.0001); and women having a caesarean birth or pre-term infant. Conclusions: Rates of predominant in-hospital breastfeeding were lower among women with GDM, particularly among Indigenous women and women having a caesarean or pre-term birth. Implications: Strategies are needed to support predominant in-hospital breastfeeding among women with GDM.


Catherine Chamberlain is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellowship (1088813). Alyce Wilson's time and Rebecca Ritte's fellowship was supported by an NHMRC Program grant (631947). Sandra Campbell is supported by an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (1071889). Dympna Leonard is supported by an NHMRC postgraduate scholarship (1092732). The Cairns Diabetes Centre provided financial assistance to enable reviews of medical records for this project.


Publication Date



Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health






7p. (p. 144-150)





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