214375 Disentangling maternal decisions concerning breastfeeding and paid employment

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 6:00 PM - 6:20 PM

Bidisha Mandal, PhD , School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
Brian Roe, Professor , Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Sara B. Fein, PhD , Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration, College Park, MD
Rising female labor force participation in the United States may interfere with achievement of the nation's breastfeeding goals. Meanwhile the importance of breastfeeding in developed countries is increasingly emphasized. We examine the trade-off between maternal postpartum employment and breastfeeding. A set of simultaneous models of maternal employment and infant feeding decisions are estimated to study (1) the duration of maternal work leave and the duration of any and of exclusive breastfeeding and (2) the intensity of market work and intensity of breastfeeding. Data are from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II (IFPS II), conducted in 2005-2007. This is a longitudinal study of women from late pregnancy through their infant's first year of life. Of the 3033 women who completed at least 1 postnatal survey, 697 were eligible and had complete data for this study. Exclusion criteria included not breastfeeding and not working. We found that the duration of work leave is positively related to the duration of any but not exclusive breastfeeding. Breastfeeding behaviors, however, do not affect duration of leave. The intensity of market work is negatively related to the intensity of breastfeeding at both 3 and 6 months of infant age, and vice-versa. The duration models are recursively simultaneous, while the intensity models are fully simultaneous, indicating that the decision of when to return to work is a primary factor for any but not exclusive breastfeeding duration, and that decisions about the number of hours to work and intensity of breastfeeding are jointly made.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1) List the effects of duration of maternity leave and of number of hours worked in the first year postpartum on breastfeeding success. 2) Describe the driving factors that relate duration of maternity leave and breastfeeding duration. 3) Describe the driving factors that relate number of hours the mother works in the first year of her infantís life with extent of breastfeeding.

Keywords: Breastfeeding, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the first author. I was responsible for the data analysis, interpretation of the results and writing the article along with my co-authors.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.