This study sought to determine whether and to what extent maternal employment in the early postpartum period is associated with the initiation and continuation of breast-feeding in a heterogeneous, urban population. A panel of women were interviewed twice during the first 3 months postpartum. In analyses adjusted for maternal demographic characteristics, there was no association between planning to be employed within the first 6 months postpartum and initiation of breast-feeding. However, actually being employed was significantly associated with cessation of breast-feeding as early as 2 or 3 months postpartum, even after adjustment for maternal demographic variables. Less than one half of mothers who were employed were still breast-feeding at the second postpartum interview, whereas two thirds of those who were not employed were still breast-feeding. Among employed mothers, working no more than 20 hours per week appeared to be protective for continued breast-feeding.
- Received December 18, 1989.
- Accepted April 13, 1990.
- Copyright © 1991 by the American Academy of Pediatrics