Lawyer mothers: Infant-feeding intentions and behavior

Rebeca Alvarez, Janet R. Serwint, David M. Levine, Amanda Bertram, Maryam Sattari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives Maternal employment postpartum can have a powerful influence over infant-feeding behaviors. The objective of this cross-sectional online survey was to explore the infant-feeding intentions and behaviors of a convenience sample of lawyer mothers. We compared our findings with those for physician mothers. Methods Lawyers participated in an anonymous online survey. To eliminate the influence of multiple births, only study subjects with one child were reviewed for inclusion in this analysis. We used SPSS for calculation of descriptive statistics, the Mann-Whitney test for comparisons, and the Spearman rank correlation test for testing correlations. Results All mothers (29 lawyers and 47 physicians) included in the final analysis reported an intention to breast-feed, with 55% of lawyers wanting to breast-feed for at least 12 months. Physicians' breast-feeding rates were 98% at birth, 83% at 6 months, and 51% at 12 months. Lawyers' breast-feeding rates were 100% at birth, 55% at 6 months, and 17% at 12 months. Their duration of breast-feeding correlated with the support level at work and the sufficiency of time and availability of appropriate places at work to express milk. Conclusions This study did not detect statistically significant differences in infant-feeding intentions and behaviors of lawyer mothers when compared with physician mothers. Although the majority of lawyer mothers intended to breast-feed for at least 12 months, only a minority achieved that goal. Our findings support the development of workplace strategies and programs to promote breast-feeding duration among lawyers returning to work after childbirth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-267
Number of pages6
JournalSouthern medical journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 9 2015


  • breast-feeding
  • infant-feeding intentions
  • lawyer mothers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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