Mothers who conceive using IVF are less likely to breastfeed, particularly after a caesarean birth, new research has shown.
Researchers made the finding after studying the breastfeeding rates of 791 mothers from Victoria and NSW, including 329 women who conceived using IVF and 462 who did not.
The study, published in the journal Acta Paediatrica, found the lowest breastfeeding rates were among women who used IVF and had a caesarean birth without going into labour.
During pregnancy, more than 95 per cent of women said they wanted to breastfeed for at least six months.
But on discharge from hospital, 64 per cent of those who used IVF were breastfeeding exclusively, compared with 77 per cent of non-IVF women.
Lead author Jane Fisher said women who conceived using IVF had a higher rate of caesarean births, which could occur before labour if there was a perceived risk to mother or baby.
''We think there is something about going into labour that assists the onset of lactation - people speculate that it is to do with the release of the chemical oxytocin,'' she said.
Professor Fisher - the Jean Hailes professor of women's health at Monash University - said it was also possible that women who had used IVF had higher levels of anxiety about their babies' welfare, so introduced formula earlier if lactation was delayed.