Breastfeeding Support in the Workplace: The Relationships Among Breastfeeding Support, Work–Life Balance, and Job Satisfaction

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Abstract

Background:

Women are increasingly faced with decisions about how to combine breastfeeding with work, but few researchers have directly measured how breastfeeding relates to the work–life interface.

Research aim:

The authors examined how perceptions of work enhancement of personal life and work interference with personal life were influenced by workplace breastfeeding support, including organizational, manager, and coworker support, as well as adequate time to express human milk. Then, we examined how workplace breastfeeding support predicted work–life variables and job satisfaction.

Methods:

Using a self-report, survey design, the authors analyzed online surveys from 87 women in a rural, community sample who indicated that they had pumped at work or anticipated needing to pump in the future.

Results:

According to regression results, provision of workplace breastfeeding support, particularly providing adequate time for human milk expression, predicted work enhancement of personal life. Conversely, we found that as workplace support diminished, employees perceived greater work interference with personal life. Results of path analysis further suggested that providing time for expressing milk improved job satisfaction via a partially mediated relationship where work enhancement of personal life acted as a mediator.

Conclusion:

These results suggest that employers can enhance the lives of their breastfeeding employees both at work and at home by providing workplace breastfeeding support, especially through providing time for expressing human milk in the workplace.

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