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Longer maternity leave makes women more likely to breastfeed

Mums who have longer than 6 weeks off when they have a baby are more likely to try breastfeeding and keep it up for longer, finds new study

Posted: 2 June 2011
by Kimberley Smith
Breastfeeding baby
Breastfeeding is easy when mum can afford to take longer off work

Mums who take longer maternity leave are more likely to give breastfeeding a go and also to keep breastfeeding for longer, a new study has found.

Unsurprisingly, the length of breastfeeding has been linked to returning to work, as mums who return more quickly are less likely to continue breastfeeding. The study also suggested that mums who know they will be going back to work soon are less likely to start breastfeeding as they know they won’t be at home for very long.

Though some offices now offer private areas where mums can express and store breast milk, many working mums do not expect to be able to take time out of the working day to express.

Less than 65% of mums who had no longer than 6 weeks of maternity leave began breastfeeding while 75% of mums with 13 weeks or longer attempted it. Though the benefits of breastfeeding are well known, many mums do not feel they are able to breastfeed remotely by expressing using a breast pump at the office and storing breast milk.

However, the government are working on making it easy for new mums in the workplace and it’s worth checking with your employer to see what he or she can provide for your return.

More about returning to work while breastfeeding:

Successful expressing

Public breastfeeding – how to do it

Storing breast milk

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