Breastfeeding is known to provide significant health benefits for both infants and their mothers. However, while many women intend to breastfeed despite returning to work, a new study finds that mothers who plan to breastfeed for at least three months but return to work full-time are less likely to meet their breastfeeding goals. Conversely, there is no association between women who return to work part-time and failure to reach the breastfeeding goal of at least three months. This new study was published today in the Journal of Human Lactation.
Studying survey data from 1,172 U.S. mothers, study authors Kelsey Mirkovic, Cria Perrine, Kelley Scanlon, and Laurence Grummer-Strawn found that 28.8% of all women who intended to breastfeed for three months were unable to meet their goal. The researchers also found the following:
"Support for a mother's delayed return to paid employment, or return at part-time hours, may help more mothers achieve their breastfeeding intentions," the researchers wrote. "This may increase breastfeeding rates and have important public health implications for US mothers and infants."
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