New Moms Breastfed Longer During Pandemic

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By Cara Murez 

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 22, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Early successful nan COVID-19 pandemic, erstwhile shelter-in-place orders were ongoing, caller moms tended to breastfeed their babies astir 2 weeks longer than usual, caller investigation shows.

“Stay-at-home policies enabled parents to proceed breastfeeding astatine location alternatively of returning to nan workplace,” said study co-author Dr. Rita Hamad, an subordinate professor successful family and organization medicine astatine nan University of California, San Francisco.

“This suggests a pent-up request for breastfeeding, which whitethorn beryllium stymied by nan deficiency of a nationalist paid family time off argumentation successful nan U.S.," Hamad said successful a assemblage news release.

The pandemic’s workplace closures successful March and April 2020 created a earthy research for whether nan expertise for parents of newborns to enactment location led to changes successful breastfeeding patterns, according to nan study.

Using nationalist study and commencement certificate information from 2017 to 2020 for much than 118,000 postpartum women, nan researchers examined whether nan infants were breastfed and for really long. They studied breastfeeding initiation and long for babies calved some anterior to and aft shelter-in-place policies.

The investigators recovered that rates of women who started breastfeeding their infants didn’t change. Yet magnitude of breastfeeding for women who did initiate it went from little than 13 weeks to astir 15 weeks, an summation of 18%.

Race and income affected nan outcome. White women had nan biggest summation successful long astatine 19%. Hispanic women knowledgeable nan smallest summation astatine astir 10%, nan findings showed.

While women pinch precocious incomes besides had magnitude of breastfeeding summation by astir 19%, those pinch debased incomes accrued by little than 17%.

The gains for achromatic and high-income women were apt because these groups had jobs that could beryllium done astatine location much easily, nan study authors suggested. Hispanic parents were much apt to person lower-wage jobs that required them to activity successful person.

“Once again, nan pandemic served to item an area of wellness inequity — differences successful workplaces that facilitate breastfeeding,” Hamad said.

Women continued to breastfeed their children for a longer long done astatine slightest August 2020. Then levels dropped to what they were earlier nan pandemic.

“Our study suggests that breastfeeding long successful nan U.S. would beryllium higher and much comparable to adjacent countries if moving parents were paid while staying location to attraction for their newborns, peculiarly parents of colour and those pinch lower-income jobs who can’t spend to return unpaid clip disconnected work,” Hamad said.

Initiation of breastfeeding for Black and low-income families dipped during nan pandemic, which suggests little entree to breastfeeding support during shelter-in-place orders, according to nan study authors.

The United States is nan only high-income state without a nationalist paid time off argumentation for caller parents, nan researchers noted. Just 25% of group who activity successful backstage manufacture person entree to paid family leave.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends six months of exclusive breastfeeding.

President Joe Biden said successful March that he plans to allocate $325 cardinal successful his 2024 fund connection for a imperishable paid family time off program.

The study was published online May 18 successful nan American Journal of Public Health.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has much connected nan benefits of breastfeeding for babe and mom.

SOURCE: University of California, San Francisco, news release, May 18, 2023

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