They say breastfeeding is free, but if you’re a nursing mom who’s also working, it might cost you. According to a new study published in the American Sociological Review, women who breastfeed for 6 months or longer experience a dramatic decrease in income. Even five years later, they make an average of $5,000 less than they were making before they gave birth.
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The study was authored by Phyllis L.F. Rippeyoung, an assistant professor of sociology and coordinator of women’s and gender studies at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, who attributes the loss in income to the time commitment required by breastfeeding, which is not always compatible with the demands of a job. She became interested in the topic when she struggled to find time to pump amid classes and commutes. She ultimately had to give up nursing so she could keep working.
This study dovetails with the recent publication of Elizabeth Badinter’s book The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women, which argues that many of the tenets of natural parenting, among them breastfeeding, set women back.
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How did your job factor into your decision on when to wean, or even nurse at all?