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Working Full-Time After Pregnancy Cuts Breastfeeding Time

Update Date: Jul 17, 2014 07:30 PM EDT

Returning to work full-time after pregnancy could seriously cut the time mothers spend time breastfeeding their children, according to a new study.

While many mothers plan on breastfeeding for at least three months, new research reveals that those who work full-time are significantly less likely to complete their breastfeeding goals.

However, researchers found that women who return to work part-time are more likely than those who return full-time to breastfeed for at least three months.

The latest study involved 1,172 mothers. After analyzing breastfeeding rates, researchers Kelsey Mirkovic, Cria Perrine, Kelley Scanlon, and Laurence Grummer-Strawn found that 28.8 percent of all participants who intended to breastfeed for three months were unable to meet their goal.

The latest study also revealed that those mothers who returned to work full time before six weeks were 2.25 times less likely to meet their goals. Mothers who returned to work full-time between six weeks and three months were 1.82 times less likely to meet their three-month breast-feeding goal.

However, the findings did not hold true for mothers who returned to work part-time.

"Support for a mother's delayed return to paid employment, or return at part-time hours, may help more mothers achieve their breastfeeding intentions," researchers wrote in the study. "This may increase breastfeeding rates and have important public health implications for US mothers and infants."

The study "Maternity Leave Duration and Full-time/Part-time Work Status Are Associated with US Mothers' Ability to Meet Breastfeeding Intentions," in the Journal of Human Lactation.

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