Degree Name

Master of Science (Hons.)


Department of Public Health and Nutrition


The primary aim of the study was to detemiine whether there was a difference in breast feeding outcome at three months in those women who were discharged early after confinement (Midcall) and those who were not discharged early. A secondary aim was to describe the natural history of breast feeding in a group of 'well', recentiy confined women. Early discharge and breast feeding Early discharge programs are relatively new in Australia and although cost effectiveness issues have been evaluated, breast feeding outcomes of these programs have not previously been assessed. Breast feeding rates were compared among women participating in an early discharge (Midcall) program and women with similar characteristics discharged at the usual time (non-Midcall). Women were discharged 12-72 hours (Midcall) or 4-6 days (non-Midcall) after delivery. 'Breast feeding' was defined as women reporting they were completely breast feeding or breast feeding with some bottle feeds, for a duration of three months. There were 550 voluntary participants who were eligible for Midcall. They were enrolled consecutively and self-selected either to the Midcall or non-Midcall groups. When breast feeding and other related variables were evaluated at three months, 462 returned the mailed questionnaire (84% response) with 283 responding in the Midcall group (82.5% response) and 179 responding in the non-Midcall group (86.5%). Of the 438 women who began breast feeding at birth, 321 were still breast feeding at three months (73.3%). There was no significant difference in the three month breast feeding rates between the Midcall (73.3%) and non-Midcall (73.3%) groups. Analysis by univariate, stratified and stepwise logistic regression incorporating 25 potential predictor variables confirmed the conclusion that early discharge did not affect breast feeding rates at three months. Breast feeding in the Australian Capital Territory Of the 462 responders, 438 women breast fed fi-om birth (95%) and 321 (69.5%) continued for three months or more. Women reported that they stopped breast feeding because of breast and nipple problems, insufficient milk supply, feeling too tired and feeling too "tied down". These women said they would have continued if they had more help at home, more time and/or more child care, and more appropriate information regarding breast feeding.