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Woman with a higher social standing and educational attainment breastfeed for longer
Date:9/30/2011

's and the rates that correspond to this group where almost on a par with those of woman with lower education attainment in the 1970's and 1980's. However, a subsequent steady increase of 3.4% each year was experienced and this trend remained until the end of the 1990's.

Researchers attribute these results to the fact that women with higher educational attainment follow the advice of healthcare professionals with greater ease in relation to the benefits of maternal breastfeeding. They emphasise that "providing the mother wishes to breastfeed, working conditions, economic status and greater access to healthcare services probably help to maintain breastfeeding levels."

The significance of social change

The study suggests that the results are linked to the social changes of the time and the impact that they had on women. For instance, large family structures in which different generations of women live together and help one another in the "art of lactating" have given way to the nuclear family where the woman increasingly leans on her partner for emotional and instrumental support, rather than on other women.

Equally, experts associate this change with the progressive integration of woman into the workplace, the movement towards all things natural that was experienced at the end of the 1990's, the increase of maternity leaves and a large number of sociocultural factors that influence women before they even have their children.

Furthermore, with regard to the diet of newborns, the advice of healthcare professionals leaned towards artificial lactation in the 1970's and 1980's and then shifted towards encouraging breastfeeding. This change was due to the discovery of the health benefits that breastfeeding can bring as well as the advice of the World Health Organisation who recommends that breastfeeding should last for a minimum of 6 months.


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Contact: Juan Ramn Ordoana Martn
ordonana@um.es
34-868-887-791
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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