Extending maternity leave leads to longer breastfeeding time
Extending maternity leave to 12 weeks resulted in a significant increase in breastfeeding duration and exclusivity through 9 months for active duty mothers, according to findings presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting.
No previous study had examined the impact of breastfeeding habits before and after the military implemented its extended maternity leave policies for active duty mothers from 6 weeks in 2014 to 12 weeks in 2016, according to a press release.
Researchers analyzed electronic health records of infants born during 2014 and 2016. They found a significant increase in breastfeeding establishment at the 2-month (8.3%; P = .013), 4-month (12.7%; P =.001), 6-month (14%; P = .001), and 9-month (12.4%; P = .002) visits in the group that had 12 weeks of maternity leave. Exclusive breastfeeding also significantly increased at 2 months (8.1%; P =.043), 4 months (9.6% P = .015), and 6 months (7.5%; P = .046) months and trended toward significance at 9 months (6.1%; P =.052).
There was no significant change in breastfeeding initiation between the 2014 and 2016 groups, according to researchers.
“Similar to civilian studies, we found that longer duration of maternity leave increases breastfeeding success throughout the first year of life in a military population,” Andrew Delle Donne, DO, of the department of pediatrics at Brooke Army Medical Center, said in the release. “The conclusions are important to justify increased maternity leave in the military population and provide additional support to conclusions made in civilian studies.” – by Janel Miller
Donne AD, et al. Impact of extended maternity leave on breastfeeding in active duty mothers. Presented at: Pediatric Academic Societies meeting; May 5-8, 2018; Toronto.
Disclosure: Healio Family Medicine was unable to determine the authors relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.