Identifying job characteristics related to employed women’s breastfeeding behaviors.

For employed mothers of infants, reconciliation of work demands and breastfeeding constitutes a significant challenge. The discontinuation of breastfeeding has the potential to result in negative outcomes for the mother (e.g., higher likelihood of obesity), her employer (e.g., increased absenteeism), and her infant (e.g., increased risk of infection). Given previous research findings identifying return to work as a major risk factor for breastfeeding cessation, we investigate what types of job characteristics relate to women’s intentions to breastfeed shortly after giving birth and women’s actual breastfeeding initiation and duration. Using job titles and job descriptors contained in a large Australian longitudinal cohort data set (N = 809), we coded job titles using the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)’s Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database and extracted job characteristics. Hazardous working conditions and job autonomy were identified as significant determinants of women’s breastfeeding intentions, their initiation of breastfeeding, and ultimately their breastfeeding continuation. Hence, we recommend that human resource professionals, managers, and public health initiatives provide breastfeeding-supportive resources to women who, based on their job characteristics, are at high risk to prematurely discontinue breastfeeding to ensure these mothers have equal opportunity to reap the benefits of breastfeeding. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)