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woman using a breast pump Employment is now the norm for U.S. women of childbearing age. In 2015, 54% of all mothers with children younger than 12 months were employed, and 73% of those employed worked full-time (35 or more hours per week).1

Employed women currently are less likely to initiate breastfeeding, and they tend to breastfeed for a shorter length of time than women who are not employed. Most employed mothers who are lactating must express milk at work for their children and should be provided with accommodations to do so.

How Employment Can Support Breastfeeding


  1. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Table 6. Employment status of mothers with own children under 3 years old by single year of age of youngest child and marital status, 2014-2015 annual averages; 2016. Available at Access date: August 12, 2016.