Breast-Feeding: Good For Baby But Bad For Mom’s Paycheck

April 27, 2012  |  

While there is no argument that breast-feeding has some real health benefits for babies, a new study shows that it also has some harsh implications for mommy’s paycheck. MSNBC.com reports that while new moms thought they were saving money by choosing to breast feed, the choice can cost a woman a drastic dip in earnings for as long as five years after the baby is born.

The study was conducted by Phyllis L.F. Rippeyoung, an assistant sociology professor at Nova Scotia’s Acadia University. Rippeyoung was prompted by her own personal experience while breast-feeding.

“I was a grad student at the time driving back and forth between teaching and classes,” she said to MSNBC. “and my milk was drying up since I couldn’t drive and pump at the same time. It was a very difficult thing, but I had to stop breast-feeding. If I’d continued I couldn’t have worked at the same time.”

Rippeyoung’s study looked at over 1000 first-time moms in the US in their late 20s or 30s who chose to breast feed for six-months or longer. On average, it observed that these women were making around $5,000 less annually five years after the birth of the baby. But why? One explanation points to the lack of hours these women are able to take on at work and a lack of company offered on-site day care.

Although the evidence may certainly discourage new mothers and soon-to-be mothers, Rippeyoung also says she doesn’t want women who chose to breastfeed to get discouraged. “I don’t think it’s inevitable,” she said to MSNBC. “If there were more ways in which women could combine breast-feeding with working you’d see less of this earnings decline.”

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