• Key words:;
  • breastfeeding;
  • postpartum period;
  • hospital nursing service;
  • length of stay

Breastfeeding was studied among women discharged early and late after normal delivery in a hospital. Early discharge was defined as leaving the hospital 24–48 h after delivery in combination with domiciliary visits, and late discharge as the regular hospital postpartum care (mean 6 days). 164 women interested in participating in the early discharge study were randomly allocated in late pregnancy to a group offered early discharge (Experimental group = EG) or a group offered the traditional later discharge (Control group = CG). After medical exclusions and non-medical withdrawals, 50 mother-infant couples remained in EG and 54 in CG. Regular breastfeeding at 6 months after birth was reported by 63% of the multiparae in EG and 41% in CG (p=0.06). Thirty-three per cent of the primiparae in each group were still breastfeeding at 6 months. 2% of the infants in EG and 72% in CG received supplementary breastmilk at least once during their first week of life. Infants discharged early were breastfed more often on the 2nd (NS), 3rd (p<0.05) and 4th day (p<0.001) after birth, compared with infants who stayed longer in hospital. There were no statistically significant differences between EG and CG women in their experiences of success in breastfeeding according to daily records from the first 14 days after the birth.