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Using mPINC Data to Measure Breastfeeding Support for Hospital Employees
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    Employer support is important for mothers, as returning to work is a common reason for discontinuing breastfeeding. This article explores support available to breastfeeding employees of hospitals that provide maternity care.


    This study aimed to describe the prevalence of 7 different types of worksite support and changes in these supports available to breastfeeding employees at hospitals that provide maternity care from 2007 to 2011.


    Hospital data from the 2007, 2009, and 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Survey on Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) were analyzed. Survey respondents were asked if the hospital provides any of the following supports to hospital staff: (1) a designated room to express milk, (2) on-site child care, (3) an electric breast pump, (4) permission to use existing work breaks to express milk, (5) a breastfeeding support group, (6) lactation consultant/ specialist available for consult, and (7) paid maternity leave other than accrued vacation or sick leave. This study was exempt from ethical approval because it was a secondary analysis of a publicly available dataset.


    Of the 7 worksite supports in hospitals measured, 6 increased and 1 decreased from 2007 to 2011. Across all survey years, more than 70% of hospitals provided supports for expressing breast milk, whereas less than 15% provided direct access to the breastfeeding child through on-site child care, and less than 35% offered paid maternity leave. Results differed by region and hospital size and type. In 2011, only 2% of maternity hospitals provided all 7 worksite supports; 40% provided 5 or more.


    The majority of maternity care hospitals (> 70%) offer breastfeeding supports that allow employees to express breast milk. Supports that provide direct access to the breastfeeding child, which would allow employees to breastfeed at the breast, and access to breastfeeding support groups are much less frequent than other supports, suggesting opportunities for improvement.

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