Report Finds Breastfeeding for Working Mothers Remains Challenging

A report authored by scholars at the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia finds that even at organizations that have made a concerted effort to support breastfeeding mothers, women still face barriers and peer pressure that can make it difficult for them in the workplace.

spatzdiane“Even if you put into place really excellent support and access to hospital pump rooms and have a strong policy, even with all that, some women can still find it challenging,” said Diane Spatz, a perinatal nursing and nutrition professor in Penn’s School of Nursing and lactation program director at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “It only takes one person to say, ‘Why are you taking a pump break?’”

Dr. Spatz notes that although the hospital offered prenatal education, access to breast pumps, and 30 lactation rooms, many of the women employees were not informed about the resources available to them.

“Breastfeeding at work is hard to do, but it’s not the whole issue,” Dr. Spatz said. “We need to create a culture where it’s valued to breastfeed and that it’s important, where everyone in society says to moms, ‘Yes, we’re going to support you.’”

Dr. Spatz holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania.

The article, “Navigating Return to Work and Breastfeeding in a Hospital With a Comprehensive Employee Lactation Program: The Voices of Mothers,” was published in the November issue of the Journal of Human Lactation. It may be accessed here. The article was co-authored by Elizabeth Froh, clinical supervisor of the lactation team at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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