Longer paid leaves promote breastfeeding success

By Anne Harding

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Giving working mothers paid maternity leave — and more of it — could go a long way toward helping them to continue breastfeeding their babies, a new study in Pediatrics shows.

“For breastfeeding it seems that really the time that matters is postpartum leave,” Dr. Sylvia Guendelman of the University of California at Berkeley, who led the research, told Reuters Health.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months of life. But in 2002, while 72 percent of new moms in the US initiated breastfeeding, Guendelman and her colleagues point out in their report, just 35 percent were still nursing by the time their babies were 6 months old.

To investigate how work stressors and maternity leave time might influence their likelihood of breastfeeding success, the researchers interviewed 770 California women who had been working full-time before they had their babies. California is one of five states that provides 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, and an additional 6weeks “for infant bonding.”

Eighty-two percent of the women established breastfeeding, while 65 percent of these women were still nursing when the researchers interviewed them.

Sixty-eight percent of the women had returned to work by the time of the interview and half of these women were still breastfeeding.

The strongest predictor of whether a woman would continue breastfeeding was whether or not she returned to work within 6 weeks of delivery, the researchers found; those who did were 3.4 times more likely to stop breastfeeding than those who had longer leaves.

The risk of not establishing breastfeeding was also more than doubled among mothers who went back to work between 6 to 12 weeks after delivery compared to the women who were still not working.

Women who were managers, had flexible work schedules, and had more job autonomy were more likely to start breastfeeding their infants, and were more likely to breastfeed longer.

While the U.S. requires employers with 50 or more workers to offer them 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected maternity leave, Guendelman and her team note, “many nonaffluent workers do not take leave because they cannot forego pay, are not covered, or are unaware of their eligibility, and that can be very stressful.”

The findings, they add, suggest that “merely establishing maternity leave policies without encouraging their use and making them economically feasible do not suffice to promote breastfeeding success.”

Canada recently extended its paid maternity leave from 6 months to 1 year, Guendelman noted in an interview. “Studies in Canada evaluating this policy are showing that breastfeeding increases by about one third of a month with every additional month that the mom is not at work,” she said.

SOURCE: Pediatrics, January 2009.

Source

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Related Posts:


By Anne Harding NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The exercise that babies get while suckling at the breast may be an essential component of the respiratory benefits associated with breastfeeding, new research shows. Dr. Ikechukwu U. Ogbuanu of the University of South Carolina in Columbia and colleagues found that by 10 years old children who were breastfed

Full Post: Babies’ nursing workouts build lung capacity
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in California fell significantly in the 1990s but has held steady since 2002, according to a new report. The decline in SIDS deaths in California began even before the launch of the national “Back to Sleep” campaign in 1994. This campaign called for

Full Post: SIDS incidence stable in California: study
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A combination vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and flu, which is routinely used in Canadian children, has been shown to be effective and well tolerated in a U.S. study. The randomized trial was conducted to support U.S. licensure of the vaccine known as DTaP5-IPV-Hib, which incorporates diphtheria-tetanus-5-component acellular pertussis (DTaP5),

Full Post: Combination vaccine safe and effective for infants
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Gene Emery BOSTON (Reuters) - Sooner is better when it comes to treating infants born with the AIDS virus, HIV, researchers reported on Wednesday. A South African study of 377 babies found that giving newborns drug therapy right away, and not waiting until conventional tests showed a higher risk of becoming ill, cut the death rate

Full Post: Early treatment best for AIDS-infected babies
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A one-time set of steroid injections for pregnant women at high risk of giving birth prematurely can head off major problems for the baby, but more injections give no further benefit, Canadian researchers said. From previous studies, it was known that giving these women a single course of injections of corticosteroids

Full Post: Study clarifies steroid benefit in pre-term births

Site Navigation

Most Read

Search