In-hospital Breastfeeding and Intention to Return to Work Influence Mothers’ Breastfeeding Intentions

Shera Thomas-Jackson, Gail Bentley, Kristina Keyton, Alan Reifman, Mallory Boylan, Sybil Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Research has continually provided support that breastfeeding is one of the best choices a new mother can make for the long-term benefit of both the newborn infant and herself. Many women choose to initiate breastfeeding but a large percentage cease breastfeeding sooner than intended and recommended. Breastfeeding has been found to be related to demographics, maternal mood, and returning to work outside the home. Objectives: This study aimed to shed light on the woman’s perception of the impact of working on breastfeeding duration. This study used maternal plans to return to work and in-hospital breastfeeding to predict breastfeeding intentions. Methods: Women (N = 160) were surveyed during the first 48 hours post-delivery of healthy, full-term infants. Survey instruments included demographics (socio-economic status, maternal age, education, and marital status), depression, fetal attachment, current exclusive breastfeeding status, as well as breastfeeding and return to work intentions for the next year. A Path Analysis was used to explore relationships and predictors of breastfeeding intentions. Results: The model had a good fit and breastfeeding intentions were predicted by exclusive breastfeeding in the hospital (β = 0.21, p < 0.01) and negatively predicted by return to work (β = -0.18, p < 0.05). Conclusion: Exclusive breastfeeding in the hospital within the first 48 hours postpartum and intention to return to work influence how long a mother intends to breastfeed her infant. Attention to these areas can be provided immediately postpartum to support exclusive breastfeeding and provide informational support on continuing to breastfeed/express milk upon return to work if mother intends to return to work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)NP76-NP83
JournalJournal of Human Lactation/Sage
StatePublished - Nov 2016


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