Maternity leave duration and full-time/part-time work status are associated with US mothers’ ability to meet breastfeeding intentions
Published Date:Jul 17 2014
Source:J Hum Lact. 30(4):416-419.
Pubmed Central ID:PMC4593053
Funding:CC999999/Intramural CDC HHS/United States
Breastfeeding provides numerous health benefits for infants and mothers; however, many infants are not breastfed as long as recommended or desired by mothers. Maternal employment is frequently cited as a barrier to breastfeeding.
To assess whether maternity leave duration and return-status (full-time [FT], part-time [PT]) were associated with not meeting a mother’s intention to breastfeed at least 3 months.
We used data from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II, a cohort study. Analyses were limited to women employed prenatally who intended to breastfeed 3 months or longer (n=1172). Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between maternity leave duration and return to work-status (<6 weeks/FT, <6 weeks/PT, 6 weeks – 3 months/FT, 6 weeks – 3 months/PT, not working by 3 months) and meeting a mother’s intention to breastfeed at least 3 months.
Overall, 28.8% of mothers did not meet their intention to breastfeed at least 3 months. Odds of not meeting intention to breastfeed at least 3 months were higher among mothers who returned to work FT before 3 months (<6 weeks/FT: aOR = 2.25, 95% CI: 1.23 – 4.12; 6 weeks – 3 months/FT: aOR = 1.82, 95% CI: 1.30 – 2.56), compared with mothers not working at 3 months.
Returning to work full-time before 3 months may reduce a mother’s ability to meet her intention to breastfeed at least 3 months. Employer support for flexible work scheduling may help more women achieve their breastfeeding goals.
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