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Longer Maternity Leave Improves the Rate of Breastfeeding

This is Science Today. Women who took less than six weeks of maternity leave were found to have an increased risk of failure to establish breastfeeding than women who took a longer break from the workforce. Those were the findings of a University of California, Berkeley study led by maternity and child health expert, Sylvia Guendelman.

Guendelman:              What we found was that there was an important association between delaying return to the workforce and successful breastfeeding. Such that women who took very short leaves of about six weeks or less were four times more likely to quit breastfeeding compared to women who have not yet returned to work in that period of time.

Narrator:        Guendelman says aside from the health benefits of breastfeeding for women and children, longer maternity leave may have other beneficial implications.

Guendelman:              It might help reduce medical costs and it might increase overall well-being of our working population.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.