Factors Related to Milk Supply Perception in Women Who Underwent Cesarean Section

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Background:Perceived insufficient milk supply is common among postpartum women and is a major reason for early weaning. Studies indicate a significantly higher incidence of insufficient milk supply in women who undergo cesarean section as compared with women who undergo vaginal delivery.Purpose:This study was designed to determine perceived milk supply in postpartum women who underwent a planned cesarean section, as well as related factors.Methods:Authors employed a descriptive correlational study design. Factors associated with milk supply perception in postpartum women (at 3 days postpartum) were collected from 141 postpartum women who planned to undergo cesarean section at a regional teaching hospital in northern Taiwan. A demographic data sheet, the Birth Practice Inventory, a visual pain analog scale, and the Hill and Humenick Lactation Scale were used to identify factors affecting the perceived milk supply of participants.Results:The study used multiple linear regression to identify significant predictors of milk supply perception. Four factors, including parity, type of anesthesia, time to initial breastfeeding, and use of formula, explained 23.1% of total variance among participants. Women who experienced epidural patient-controlled analgesia, those with delayed initial breastfeeding or lower breastfeeding frequency, and those who used formula supplementation earned relatively lower perceived milk supply scores.Conclusions/Implications for Practice:Study results indicate that medical staff should encourage postpartum women to commence breastfeeding, based on infant need, as early as possible and reduce formula use to increase breastfeeding frequency. Shifting to nonnarcotic analgesic medications from epidural patient-controlled analgesia as early as possible is also recommended to increase breastfeeding success.

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