Length of Breastfeeding May Depend on Mom’s Social Status

The Time Spent Breastfeeding

The time a woman spends breastfeeding her baby may depend largely on socio-demographic factors such as education and social status, according to new research on breastfeeding in Spain. Aspects like advice from healthcare professionals, longer maternity leave, and a woman’s integration into the workplace also played a role in how long she breastfed her baby, the study shows.

Researchers looked at breastfeeding rates of Spanish women from the 1960s through the 1990s to see if mothers behaved the same way. They found that in the 1960s and 1990s, women breastfed more than they did in the 1970s and 1980s.

In addition, they found that women with medium and high education attainment showed drastically shorter breastfeeding periods at the beginning of the 1970s, but it increased by a steady 3.4 percent each year until the end of the 1990s. The researchers say that this is the case because women with a higher level of education tend to listen to the advice of healthcare professionals.

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