Workplace Breastfeeding Support Varies by Employment Type: The Service Workplace Disadvantage

Kailey Snyder, Kelli Hansen, Sara Brown, Amy Portratz, Kate White, Danae Dinkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: The majority of women are returning to work full-time after childbirth, and support within their place of employment may influence intention and duration for breastfeeding, but more research is needed. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the influence of employment type on breastfeeding duration upon return to work by examining informal (i.e., verbal encouragement) and direct (i.e., lactation space, flexible time) factors of support. Methods: This was a retrospective survey of women's returning-to-work experiences while breastfeeding. Survey contents included respondent demographics as well as questions surrounding perceptions of employer support, work environment, and goal/satisfaction regarding breastfeeding. Data were analyzed via crosstabs and chi-square goodness of fit tests. Results: A total of 1,002 women completed the survey. Significant differences were seen across different employment types. Women within the professional/management industry were most likely to receive informal and direct support for breastfeeding upon return to work. Women within the service industry and production/transportation industry reported receiving the lowest levels of informal and direct support. Conclusion: Workplace support varies by employment type and women in the service and production/transportation industry appear to be at a disadvantage compared with other employment types. There is a need for more breastfeeding support programs to be developed that target specific workplace characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-27
Number of pages5
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • breastfeeding
  • mothers
  • workplace support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Health Policy
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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