Breastfeeding initiation and continuation by employment status among Korean women

Nam Mi Kang, Jung Eun Lee, Yeon Bai, Theo Van Achterberg, Taisun Hyun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: The objective of this study was to examine the factors associated with initiation and continuation of breastfeeding among Korean women in relation to their employment status. Methods: Data were collected using a web-based self-administered questionnaire from 1,031 Korean mothers living in Seoul with babies younger than 24 months. Demographic characteristics, education on breastfeeding, rooming in, breastfeeding during hospital stay, and breastfeeding knowledge were examined. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to identify factors associated with initiation and continuation at 1, 6 and 12 months according to mothers’ employment status. Results: Breastfeeding initiation rates were similar regardless of mothers’ employment status. Continuation rates decreased for both groups of mothers, but were significantly lower among employed mothers at all duration points. Unemployed mothers who were able to keep their babies in the same room during the hospital stay were more likely to initiate breastfeeding. The factor that was consistently associated with breastfeeding continuation for all duration points among unemployed mothers was whether the mother breastfed during the hospital stay. Higher knowledge scores and having an infant with atopic dermatitis were also associated with breastfeeding continuation at 6 months and 12 months, respectively for unemployed mothers, and receiving education on breastfeeding was associated with 12-month continuation for employed mothers. Conclusion: These results emphasize the significant roles of hospitals for breastfeeding initiation and continuation, with rooming-in, initial breastfeeding practice and education during hospital stay as important practices. In addition, for working mothers to continue their breastfeeding, significant support from the workplace is crucial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-313
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Korean Academy of Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Breastfeeding
  • Employment
  • Web


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