Mothers' Awareness of Their Breastfeeding Rights: A Factor Influencing Breastfeeding Rates
Breast milk has been well established as superior to formula for infants. However, while exclusive breastfeeding initiation rates of 83.2% are relatively high in the U.S. (CDC, 2018), breastfeeding rates drop off considerably after three months, with an average rate of 46.9%, and only 24.9% at six months (CDC, 2018). To improve these rates, federal and state governments have passed laws to promote breastfeeding, educate parents, and protect mothersâ rights while breastfeeding. However, new mothers do not appear be aware of the rights that have been granted by these new laws. This study was designed as a field study to examine whether mothersâ level of awareness of the breastfeeding centric laws and of their rights thereunder are an additional factor in breastfeeding rates. The study used a cross-sectional descriptive survey, collecting data from 118 mothers from six states with high, median, and low breastfeeding duration rates as reported by the CDC. The results indicate that age, household income, education, and employment status do influence breastfeeding duration. There is no statistically significant indication that race, age, household income, education, state of residence, fathersâ feeding preferences, number of children, or employment status influence mothersâ awareness of breastfeeding laws. There is also no statistically significant evidence that mothersâ awareness of breastfeeding legislation influences breastfeeding duration rates.