Employment is now the norm for U.S. women of childbearing age. In 2015, 54% of all mothers with children younger than 12 months were employed, and 73% of those employed worked full-time (35 or more hours per week).1
Employed women currently are less likely to initiate breastfeeding, and they tend to breastfeed for a shorter length of time than women who are not employed. Most employed mothers who are lactating must express milk at work for their children and should be provided with accommodations to do so.
How Employment Can Support Breastfeeding
- Work toward establishing paid maternity leave for all employed mothers. [PDF-903.73KB]
- Ensure that employers establish and maintain comprehensive, high-quality lactation support programs for their employees. [PDF-903.73KB]
- Expand the use of programs in the workplace that allow lactating mothers to have direct access to their babies. [PDF-903.73KB]
- Ensure that all child care providers accommodate the needs of breastfeeding mothers and infants. [PDF-903.73KB]
- U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Table 6. Employment status of mothers with own children under 3 years old by single year of age of youngest child and marital status, 2014-2015 annual averages; 2016. Available at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/famee.t06.htm. Access date: August 12, 2016.
- Page last reviewed: August 12, 2016
- Page last updated: August 12, 2016
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