Breastfeeding and the workplace environment: Does employment affect the rate of breastfeeding in the Black population?
Fleurant, Erin Peabbles.
- Benefits to breastfeeding range from reducing childhood obesity and infections to decreasing cancer risks in mothers. However, the practice of breastfeeding is not done uniformly across populations in America. Non-Hispanic Black women consistently have the lowest rates of breastfeeding. Barriers to breastfeeding in all populations have been explored in literature and include, among others, race, ... read moresocioeconomic status and employment. However, specific aspects of employment as a barrier in this population have not been discussed. This research study aimed to explore what specific aspects of employment, if any, influenced the decision to breastfeed among non-Hispanic Black women. Working with the Mattapan Community Health Center, data was collected in two phases from women (n=11) as well as their employers (n=5) using in-person and over-the-phone administered questionnaires. Early findings indicate that while women did not find employment to be the most significant barrier to breastfeeding, they also had little to no knowledge of company policies regarding breastfeeding policies. When speaking with employers, the new legislation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was not mentioned, indicating the possibility that employers are not aware of the Act's effects on working mothers. These findings can guide future efforts towards increasing breastfeeding rates in this population by focusing efforts on educating employees and employers on policies and legislation regarding breastfeeding.read less