Juggling Work and Breastfeeding: Effects of Maternity Leave and Occupational Characteristics

University of California, Maternal and Child Health Program, School of Public Health, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360, USA.
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.47). 02/2009; 123(1):e38-46. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2008-2244
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Juggling breastfeeding and paid work can challenge breastfeeding success. We examined the relationship between breastfeeding and maternity leave before and after delivery among working mothers in Southern California. California is 1 of only 5 states in the United States providing paid pregnancy leave that can be extended for infant bonding.
Drawing from a case-control study of preterm birth and low birth weight, 770 full-time working mothers were compared on whether they established breastfeeding in the first month. For those who established breastfeeding, we examined duration. Eligible women participated in California's Prenatal Screening Program; delivered live births between July 2002 and December 2003; were > or =18 years old; had a singleton birth without congenital anomalies; and had a US mailing address. We assessed whether maternity leave and other occupational characteristics predicted breastfeeding cessation and used multivariate regression models weighted for probability of sampling to calculate odds ratios for breastfeeding establishment and hazards ratios for breastfeeding cessation.
A maternity leave of < or =6 weeks or 6 to 12 weeks after delivery was associated, respectively, with a fourfold and twofold higher odds of failure to establish breastfeeding and an increased probability of cessation after successful establishment, relative to women not returning to work, after adjusting for covariates. The impact of short postpartum leave on breastfeeding cessation was stronger among nonmanagers, women with inflexible jobs, and with high psychosocial distress. Antenatal leave in the last month of pregnancy was not associated with breastfeeding establishment or duration.
Postpartum maternity leave may have a positive effect on breastfeeding among full-time workers, particularly those who hold nonmanagerial positions, lack job flexibility, or experience psychosocial distress. Pediatricians should encourage patients to take maternity leave and advocate for extending paid postpartum leave and flexibility in working conditions for breastfeeding women.

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Available from: Michelle Pearl, Sep 28, 2015
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    • "The multivariate analysis showed that mothers who resumed work when their baby was older than 3 months were 1.6 times more likely to provide exclusive breastfeeding compared with mothers who resumed work when their baby was 3 months or younger (AOR = 1.61; 95% CI 1.24, 2.35). Similar findings were obtained in other studies done in Nigeria [15,26] and Saudi Arabia [27]. In addition to inadequate maternity leave policy; lack of child care facilities at or near the work place and rigid time schedules that do not allow for nursing breaks, were other reasons mentioned by the respondents for early initiation of complementary feeding. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Health care workers have a duty to promote and support breastfeeding among their clients. Although their ability to do this may be influenced by their knowledge and personal experience; little is known about breastfeeding practices and the perceived barriers. The objective of this study was to assess the breastfeeding practices and the associated factors among female nurses and midwives in North Gondar Zone; Northwest Ethiopia. Methods An institution based cross-sectional study design was conducted in 2013 among 178 nurses and midwives. In this study exclusive breastfeeding refers to breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a child’s life. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were performed to identify the presence and strength of association. Odds ratios with 95% confidence interval were computed to determine the level of significance. Results Exclusive breastfeeding rate among respondents was found to be 35.9%. Nearly half (49.4%) of the respondents exclusively breastfed for only 3 months or less. The mean duration exclusive breastfeeding was 4.1 ± 1.7 months. Older women (AOR = 2.8; 95% CI 2.16, 3.24), rural residence (AOR = 3.01; 95% CI 2.65, 3.84), being midwife (AOR = 2.01; 95% CI 1.83, 2.56), a women who gave birth through vaginal delivery (AOR = 2.0; 95% CI 1.68, 2.87), multiparous women (AOR = 2.20; 95% CI 1.74, 2.67) and resumption of work after 3 months (AOR = 1.61; 95% CI 1.24, 2.35) were independently associated with exclusive breastfeeding. Conclusion Though respondents had adequate knowledge on breastfeeding, the practice of exclusive breastfeeding was low. Maternal age, place of residence, profession, mode of delivery, parity and the time before resuming work were factors associated with exclusive breastfeeding. Appropriate education concerning breastfeeding, directed at nurses and midwives is required to enhance exclusive breastfeeding and duration of breastfeeding.
    International Breastfeeding Journal 07/2014; 9(1):11. DOI:10.1186/1746-4358-9-11
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    • "However, most debates on employment and the newly maternal, breastfeeding body take place outside the arena of management studies. Generally speaking, considerations of breastfeeding and employment may be found in journals relating to health and medicine, sociology, health geography and women's and cultural studies (Bailey and Pain 2001; Earle 2002; Galtry 1997; Gatrell 2007b; Giles 2004; Guendelman et al. 2009; Hausman 2004; Murphy 2003; Ortiz et al. 2004; Shaw 2004; Witters- Green 2003; Wolf 2006). Research on breastfeeding and employment is only now beginning to edge its way into journals conventionally associated with management (e.g. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article builds on the theorizing of body work through introducing a new concept: ‘maternal body work’. In so doing, it shows how progress towards a feminist politics of motherhood within organizations remains limited. Despite decades of feminist scholarship, dissonances remain between the private worlds of reproduction and public worlds of organization. With regard to this limited progress, the article reveals how, among a sample of 27 mothers (all professionally and managerially employed in the UK), 22 felt marginalized and undervalued at work, experiencing the borders between maternity and organization as unmalleable. By contrast, five women treated borders between reproduction and organization as more fluid than anticipated. Setting a high value on their skills, they developed strategies for parrying unfavourable revisions of their status. The article concludes by considering the potential development of resources for enhancing maternal coping strategies.
    Human Relations 05/2013; 66(5):621-644. DOI:10.1177/0018726712467380 · 1.87 Impact Factor
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    • "The likelihood of extending maternity leave or quitting work is greater for a mother who breastfeeds her child compared to one who formula-feeds, all else being similar, because breastfeeding is less compatible with paid work and business travel. In fact, quantitative research shows a positive association between length of maternity leave and breastfeeding rates in Canada (Baker and Milligan 2008) and the United States (Guendelman et al. 2009). If women quit work entirely to have extended breastfeeding time with their babies, they lose earnings in the short-term that they would have made if they had not quit. "
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    ABSTRACT: Based on studies showing health advantages for breastfeeding mothers and their infants, pediatricians and other breastfeeding advocates encourage new mothers to breastfeed their babies for at least the first six months of their infants’ lives, arguing that breast milk is best for infants, families, and society, and it is cost free. Few empirical studies, however, document how the decision to breastfeed instead of formula-feed is associated with women’s post-birth earnings. This is an important omission, given that the majority of women today work for pay, and many work in job environments incompatible with breastfeeding. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, our results show that mothers who breastfeed for six months or longer suffer more severe and more prolonged earnings losses than do mothers who breastfeed for shorter durations or not at all. The larger post-birth drop in earnings for long-duration breastfeeders is due to a larger reduction in labor supply. We discuss the implications of these findings for gender equality at home and at work.
    American Sociological Review 01/2012; 77(2):244-267. · 4.42 Impact Factor
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