Lactation Accommodation in the Workplace and Duration of Exclusive Breastfeeding
Article first published online: 10 DEC 2013
© 2013 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives
Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health
Volume 58, Issue 6, pages 690–696, November/December 2013
How to Cite
Bai, Y. and Wunderlich, S. M. (2013), Lactation Accommodation in the Workplace and Duration of Exclusive Breastfeeding. Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health, 58: 690–696. doi: 10.1111/jmwh.12072
- Issue published online: 9 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 10 DEC 2013
- working mothers;
- lactation accommodation;
The purpose of this study was to assess current lactation accommodations in a workplace environment and to examine the association between the different dimensions of support and the duration of exclusive breastfeeding.
A survey was conducted with employees of a higher-education institution and clients of an obstetric hospital in New Jersey. Factor analysis identified dimensions of workplace support. The dimensions were correlated with the duration of exclusive breastfeeding using Pearson's r correlation analysis.
One hundred and thirteen working mothers participated in the study. The mean (SD) number of working hours of the participants was 34.3 (2.8) hours per week. Participants were primarily white (89.4%), older (mean age, 33.8 [6.0] years), highly educated (>82% above college graduate), and married (92%). Participants indicated that in their workplaces, breastfeeding was not common, breast pumps were not available, and on-site day care was not always an option. The analysis identified 4 dimensions of breastfeeding accommodation: break time, workplace environment, technical support, and workplace policy. Technical support (r = 0.71, P = .01) and workplace environment (r = 0.26, P = .01) were significantly associated with the duration of exclusive breastfeeding.
Employers can strengthen technical support and workplace environment to encourage breastfeeding continuation in working mothers. New federal laws should consider specific guidelines for minimum requirements for functional lactation support to achieve comprehensive breastfeeding benefits.