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Randomised trial of sidecar crib use on breastfeeding duration (NECOT)
  1. Helen L Ball1,
  2. Martin P Ward-Platt2,
  3. Denise Howel3,
  4. Charlotte Russell1
  1. 1Parent–Infant Sleep Lab & Medical Anthropology Research Group, Department of Anthropology, Durham University, Durham, UK
  2. 2Newcastle Neonatal Service, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Helen Ball, Department of Anthropology, Durham University, Dawson Building, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK; h.l.ball{at}


Objective To determine whether the use of sidecar cribs on the postnatal ward affects breastfeeding duration.

Design A randomised non-blinded parallel trial comparing sidecar cribs with standalone cots.

Setting Postnatal wards of the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Participants 1204 pregnant women intending to breastfeed were recruited at 20 weeks' gestation and randomised at 34 weeks to use either a sidecar crib attached to their bed (n=601) or a standalone cot adjacent to their bed (n=603).

Main outcome measures Duration of any, and exclusive, breastfeeding up to 26 weeks obtained by telephone follow-up.

Results 334 mothers were withdrawn or lost to follow-up from the trial; infant feeding data were therefore obtained for 870 mothers (433 intervention; 437 controls). Using an intention-to-treat Cox regression analysis, no significant difference was found between the two groups for duration of any breastfeeding (sidecar crib vs cot, hazard ratio (HR) 0.96, 95% CI 0.79 to 1.18), or exclusive breastfeeding (HR 0.99, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.16) adjusting for maternal age, education, previous breastfeeding and delivery type. Bed sharing was not significantly more common in mothers randomised to sidecar cribs (67% vs 64%, adjusted difference 2.8%, 95% CI −3.5% to 9.0%). There were no adverse events.

Conclusion The use of sidecar cribs for mothers and infants did not improve the duration of any or exclusive breastfeeding, or frequency of bed sharing at home.

Trial Registration ISRCTN31466133

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  • Funding Funding was provided by the National Institute for Health Research (UK) under the Research for the Patient Benefit Programme. Newcastle and North Tyneside Acute Hospitals Trust was the sponsor for this research.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Durham and Tees Valley 2 NHS Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.