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  1. Chertok, Ilana R. PhD, RN, IBCLC
  2. Shoham-Vardi, Ilana MPH, PhD
  3. Hallak, Mordechai MPH, MD


The objective of the study was to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates among postcesarean women by implementing a culturally appropriate breastfeeding intervention. This study was a prospective population-based, controlled evaluation of a breastfeeding intervention consisting of 570 Jewish and Muslim postcesarean women who had delivered healthy, term infants at an Israeli hospital. Women in the control group (n = 264) received standard hospital care and women in the intervention group (n = 306) received early, culturally sensitive, postcesarean breastfeeding guidance. Surveys regarding breastfeeding duration practices were conducted at 10 and 16 weeks postpartum. Overall and exclusive 4-month breastfeeding duration rates were significantly higher for the intervention group as compared to the control group for the Jewish women at 10 and 16 weeks postpartum. Since few Muslim women ceased breastfeeding, only exclusive breastfeeding rates were evaluated. At 10 and 16 weeks, significantly more Muslim women in the intervention group were exclusively breastfeeding as compared to the control group, although rates dramatically declined by 16 weeks. Despite the challenges to breastfeeding posed by cesarean delivery, early and appropriate breastfeeding guidance facilitated successful outcomes for both Jewish and Muslim women.