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Association between home birth and breast feeding outcomes: a cross-sectional study in 28 125 mother–infant pairs from Ireland and the UK
  1. Clare Quigley1,
  2. Cristina Taut2,
  3. Tamara Zigman3,
  4. Louise Gallagher4,
  5. Harry Campbell5,
  6. Lina Zgaga2
  1. 1Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  3. 3Department of Paediatrics, “Sestre Milosrdnice” University Hospital Centre, Zagreb, Croatia
  4. 4School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  5. 5Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lina Zgaga; zgagal{at}


Objectives To examine the association between breast feeding outcomes and place of birth (home vs hospital birth).

Design Population-based cross-sectional study.

Setting Ireland and UK.

Participants 10 604 mother–infant pairs from the Growing Up in Ireland study (GUI, 2008–2009) and 17 521 pairs from the UK Millennium Cohort Study (UKMCS, 2001–2002) at low risk of delivery complications were included in the study.

Primary and secondary outcome measures Breast feeding initiation, exclusivity and duration.

Results Home birth was found to be significantly associated with breast feeding at all examined time points, including at birth, 8 weeks, 6 months and breast feeding exclusively at 6 months. In GUI, adjusted OR was 1.90 (95% CI 1.19 to 3.02), 1.78 (1.18 to 2.69), 1.85 (1.23 to 2.77) and 2.77 (1.78 to 4.33), respectively, and in UKMCS it was 2.49 (1.84 to 3.44), 2.49 (1.92 to 3.26), 2.90 (2.25 to 3.73) and 2.24 (1.14 to 4.03).

Conclusions Home birth was strongly associated with improved breast feeding outcomes in low-risk deliveries. While the association between home birth and breast feeding is unlikely to be directly causal, further research is needed to determine which factor(s) drive the observed differences, to facilitate development of perinatal care that supports breast feeding.

  • breast feeding
  • home birth
  • developed countries
  • delivery
  • UK

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