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Breast feeding and the weekend effect: an observational study
  1. Emla Fitzsimons1,2,
  2. Marcos Vera-Hernández2,3
  1. 1UCL Institute of Education, London, UK
  2. 2Institute for Fiscal Studies, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Economics, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Emla Fitzsimons; e.fitzsimons{at}


Objective To compare the incidence of breast feeding by day of week of birth.

Design Retrospective database study using 16 508 records from the 2005 and 2010 Infant Feeding Surveys.

Setting England and Wales, UK.

Participants Mothers of a sample of births from among all registered births in the periods August–September 2005 and August–October 2010.

Main outcome measure Incidence of breast feeding after birth.

Results Among babies of mothers who left full-time education aged 16 or under, the incidence of breast feeding was 6.7 percentage points lower (95% CI 1.4 to 12.1 percentage points) for those born on Saturdays than for those born on Mondays–Thursdays. No such differences by day of week of birth were observed among babies of mothers who left school aged 17 or over.

Conclusions Breastfeeding policy should take into account differences in breast feeding by day of week of birth, which are apparent among low-educated mothers. Further research is needed to ascertain the reason for this finding.

  • breastfeeding
  • weekend
  • postnatal

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