Access to Workplace Accommodations to Support Breastfeeding after Passage of the Affordable Care Act

Katy B. Kozhimannil, Judy Jou, Dwenda K. Gjerdingen, Patricia M. McGovern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: This study examines access to workplace accommodations for breastfeeding, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act, and its associations with breastfeeding initiation and duration. We hypothesize that women with access to reasonable break time and private space to express breast milk would be more likely to breastfeed exclusively at 6 months and to continue breastfeeding for a longer duration. Methods: Data are from Listening to Mothers III, a national survey of women ages 18 to 45 who gave birth in 2011 and 2012. The study population included women who were employed full or part time at the time of survey. Using two-way tabulation, logistic regression, and survival analysis, we characterized women with access to breastfeeding accommodations and assessed the associations between these accommodations and breastfeeding outcomes. Results: Only 40% of women had access to both break time and private space. Women with both adequate break time and private space were 2.3 times (95% CI, 1.03-4.95) as likely to be breastfeeding exclusively at 6 months and 1.5 times (95% CI, 1.08-2.06) as likely to continue breastfeeding exclusively with each passing month compared with women without access to these accommodations. Conclusions: Employed women face unique barriers to breastfeeding and have lower rates of breastfeeding initiation and shorter durations, despite compelling evidence of associated health benefits. Expanded access to workplace accommodations for breastfeeding will likely entail collaborative efforts between public health agencies, employers, insurers, and clinicians to ensure effective workplace policies and improved breastfeeding outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-13
Number of pages8
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

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