Juggling work and breastfeeding

breastfeedingA recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, examined the relationship between successful establishment and continuation of breastfeeding between mothers who stay at home and mothers who return to work.  The study reviewed 770 full-time working mothers in the state of California over the period of a year and a half.  It was determined that women whose maternity leaves were equal to or less than six weeks were four times more likely to fail at establishing breastfeeding and were more likely to stop already established breastfeeding before six months than women who did not return to work.  Those whose maternity leave was 6-12 weeks were twice as likely to discontinue breastfeeding.  These results were most noticeable among women whose positions were not in management, lacked job flexibility or experienced psychosocial distress.

The conclusion of the authors is that postpartum maternity leave may have a positive effect on breastfeeding.  They believe that pediatricians should encourage patients to take maternity leave and advocate especially for extended paid postpartum leave and flexibility in working conditions for breastfeeding women.

Read about Breastfeeding: strategies for success, review our picture guide, and previous post on working and breastfeeding.  Since breastmilk is the best food for most babies during the first year of life, lets encourage employers to support it.

(Pediatrics 2009;123:e38-e46)

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3 Responses to “Juggling work and breastfeeding”

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