Background Early initiation of breast feeding has great importance for both mothers and newborns. Despite, recommendations for exclusive and early initiation of breast feeding within one hour of birth, Ethiopia reports that 58% of infants under six months of age are exclusively breastfed. Cesarean deliveries may affect timing of breastfeeding initiation, establishment of milk supply and infant breastfeeding interest compared to vaginal deliveries. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of cesarean delivery on breastfeeding initiation. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted with a total of 7115 study participants from the 2016 Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey (EDHS). Both descriptive and analytical statistical analysis was employed. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to identify anyassociations between variables. Odds ratios with its corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) were reported. During multivariable analysis, variables with p-value < 0.05 were considered as statistically significant. Results The prevalence of late initiation of breast feeding among women with their last live birth was 25.03% (95%CI; 20.5–32.2). Significant factors associated with late initiation of breastfeeding were cesarean delivery [AOR = 4.06 (95%CI, 2.66–6.2)], primipara mother [AOR = 1.45 (95%CI, 1.13–1.7)], and having an unplanned pregnancy [AOR = 1.35(95%CI, 1.1–1.65)]. Positively associated with early initiation of breastfeeding was the mother’s age, for women between 20–34 years-old. This association, reported as a negative association of late initiation of breast feeding was [AOR = 0.77(95%CI, 0.61–0.98)]. Conclusion Cesarean delivery adversely affects the initiation of breast feeding. Cesarean delivery, unplanned pregnancy, and being primiparous, were associated with late initiation of breastfeeding. Women between the ages of 20–34 years of age had a reduced chance of late initiation of breastfeeding. Providing counseling regarding the strategy and importance of early initiation of breast feeding, could have crucial importance for the mother and her newborn.
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