Lactation Duration: Influences of Human Milk Replacements and Formula Samples on Women Planning Postpartum Employment

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To examine the influences of in-hospital administration of breast milk replacements and receipt of formula samples on lactation duration among women planning postpartum employment.


Prospective design.


Telephone interviews conducted prenatally and at 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months postpartum.


Sixty-nine participants entered the study; 53 completed all scheduled interviews.

Main Outcome Measures:

Incidence and type of in-hospital human milk replacement, incidence and sources of formula samples, incidence of breastfeeding at 6 weeks postpartum, and duration of lactation.


During hospitalization, 19% of infants received formula; the incidence of breastfeeding at 6 weeks and duration of breastfeeding were significantly shorter in these infants compared with infants who were not fed formula. Fifty-nine percent of participants received formula samples from the hospital, 30% received samples from a physician's office, and 51% received samples by mail. Receipt of formula samples by mail was associated with reduced incidence of breastfeeding at 6 weeks and shortened duration of lactation.


Early formula feeding and receipt of formula samples by mail may be barriers to lactation in women employed outside the home.

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