Background: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Discussion: 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
- Hospital practices
- Late preterm