The Role of Workplace Characteristics in Breastfeeding Practices

Alison Jacknowitz, RAND

Little is known about what generates differences in breastfeeding practices among working women. This paper examines the role of workplace characteristics in the breastfeeding practices of working women. The effects of availability of employer-sponsored child care, availability of a flexible schedule, hours worked at home, and working a rotating schedule on breastfeeding outcomes are estimated using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. The availability of employer-sponsored child care increases the likelihood of breastfeeding six months after birth by 59 percent. In addition, working an additional eight hours at home per week increases the probability of breastfeeding by approximately 9 and 21 percent at birth and six months after birth, respectively. To understand the potential implications of these results, this study also investigates whether workplace characteristics are endogenous to breastfeeding by examining women's job choices in relation to fertility behavior. Findings suggest that workplace characteristics are not endogenous to breastfeeding.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Fertility Determinants, Family Planning, and Sexual Behavior