Researchers have found several social factors that correlate with differences in initiation, frequency, and duration of breastfeeding practices of mothers. Race, ethnic differences and socioeconomic status and other factors have been shown to affect a mother's choice whether or not to breastfeed, and how long she breastfeeds her child. A recent study found that on average women that breastfed their infants had higher levels of education, were older, and were more likely to be white.
The reasons for the persistently lower rates of breastfeeding among African American women are not well understood, but employment may play a role. African American women tend to return to work earlier after childbirth than white women, and they are more likely to work in environments that do not support breastfeeding. Although research has shown that returning to work is associated with early discontinuation of breastfeeding, a supportive work environment may make a difference in whether mothers are able to continue breastfeeding.
Deborah L. Dee's research found that women and children who qualify for WIC, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children were among those who were least likely to initiate breastfeeding. Income level can also contribute to women discontinuing breastfeeding early. More highly educated women are more likely to have access to information regarding difficulties with breastfeeding, allowing them to continue breastfeeding through difficulty rather than weaning early. Women in higher status jobs are more likely to have access to a lactation room and suffer less social stigma from having to breastfeed or express breastmilk at work. In addition, women who are unable to take an extended leave from work following the birth of their child are less likely to continue breastfeeding when they return to work. Low income women are more likely to have unintended pregnancies, and women whose pregnancies are unintended are less likely to breast feed their babies.
Other articles related to "sociological factors":
... There have been incidents of owners of premises, or people present, objecting to or forbidding breastfeeding ... In some cases the mothers have left in others, where a law guaranteeing the right to breastfeed has been broken, there has been legal action ...
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