Mothers‘ employment and breastfeeding continuation: Global and Pakistani perspectivesfrom the literature

Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan


Exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life, with continuation of breastfeeding up to 2 years of life with complementary feedings, offers protection against infectious disease which could potentially avert mortality and morbidity. In Pakistan the decline in breastfeeding prevalence has been attributed to the increased proportion of women in the labour force and lack of breastfeeding support in the workplace. This paper reviews the literature to explore the association of mothers’ employment on the continuation of breastfeeding, and barriers and facilitators for breastfeeding at the workplace.
A systematic search of peer-reviewed databases including MEDLINE, CINAHL, Pub Med and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews was undertaken. The search was augmented by reviewing the WHO and UNICEF websites, government reports available on the website, books, sociological abstracts, and reference lists of articles thought to be relevant.
An association is evident between early return to work or timing of return to work and breastfeeding continuation. From a global perspective, barriers and facilitators for breastfeeding at the workplace include maternal behaviours and characteristics, support at the workplace, healthcare or work environment, and policy and law. It is difficult to glean if these same factors exist in the workplace of Pakistani lactating women. There is therefore a need to identify evidence-based strategies to support breastfeeding continuation for Pakistani women returning to the workplace shortly after the birth of their babies.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Neonatal, Pediatric and Child Health Nursing