Women Who Breast Feed Longer Likely to Have More Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Vida Maralani PhD Associate Professor Department of Sociology Cornell University

Dr. Maralani

Vida Maralani PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
Cornell University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Breastfeeding is a time-intensive and culturally and emotionally charged topic in the U.S. with many different stakeholders. Women hear the strong message that they should breastfeed their infants for the first year of life, yet it is unambiguously clear that they find these guidelines hard to follow in practice. We were interested in exploring how breastfeeding duration is associated with how many children women go on to have. Our results show that women who breastfeed their first child for five months or longer are more likely to have three or more children, and less likely to have only one child, than women who breastfeed for shorter durations or not at all. Women who initiate breastfeeding did not differ in how many children they expected to have before they started their families. Rather, the number of children women actually bear differs by how long they breastfeed their first child. Women who breastfeed for shorter durations are more likely to have fewer children than they expected than to have more children than expected. In contrast, women who breastfeed longer are as likely to achieve their expectations as to exceed them, and they are nearly as likely to have more children than they expected as they are to have fewer.

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