Various factors support or hinder women’s decision to initiate and continue breastfeeding, particularly among working women. Currently, limited literature investigates breastfeeding experiences among working women across time. The purpose of this study was to gain nuanced insight into working women’s breastfeeding experiences during the first year of their infant’s life. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with working women residing in a Midwestern state (N = 25) across two time points (when infants were 3-4 months and 9-12 months). Results showed that twenty-one working women initiated and continued breastfeeding when their infants were 3-4 months old, and 14 women in the sample continued breastfeeding when their infants were 9-12 months old. Five themes emerged regarding barriers and facilitators of breastfeeding initiation and continuation. Individual-level factors included 1) Women’s perceptions of breastfeeding as nurturing and pleasurable as well as frustrating and painful and 2) Maternal self-efficacy and beliefs. Setting-level themes included: 3) Active and passive workplace supports, 4) Lactation and breastfeeding supports in the community, and 5) Childcare provider supports. Findings suggest the importance of resources, programming and policy efforts that support the expansion of statewide breastfeeding programs, breastfeeding education for health professionals and childcare providers, lactation rooms, and flexible work scheduling.
Jiang, Q., Hatton-Bowers, H., Tippens, J. A., Hong, S., & Kohel, K. (2021). Good for Baby, Good for Mom: The Determinants of Breastfeeding Initiation and Continuation Among Working Women in the Midwest U.S.. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 9(3), 4. https://scholarsjunction.msstate.edu/jhse/vol9/iss3/4
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