Cadernos de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
VIANNA, Rodrigo Pinheiro de Toledo; REA, Marina Ferreira; VENANCIO, Sonia Isoyama and ESCUDER, Maria Mercedes. Breastfeeding practices among paid working mothers in Paraíba State, Brazil: a cross-sectional study. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2007, vol.23, n.10, pp. 2403-2409. ISSN 0102-311X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2007001000015.
Paid work should not be an obstacle to women's breastfeeding. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months. In Brazil, women are legally entitled to 4 months of maternity leave, but in practice few women enjoy such benefits. How is it possible to practice exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months? We analyzed both the breastfeeding rates and whether paid jobs interfere with breastfeeding in Paraíba State, Northeast Brazil. We conducted a cross-sectional study in 70 of 223 municipalities (counties) during the annual immunization campaign in 2002. Among 11,076 infants (< 12 months of age), the exclusive breastfeeding rate at 0-4 months was 22.4% and was significantly higher among working women receiving maternity leave as compared to those who did not. The prevalence of total and predominant breastfeeding for 4 months was significantly lower among working women. In rural areas, having paid work was associated with a reduction in exclusive breastfeeding. The results show that breastfeeding practices in Paraíba fall far short of WHO recommendations, especially when mothers return to their paid jobs.
Keywords : Breast Feeding; Parental Leave; Working Women.