Effectiveness of Workplace Lactation Interventions on Breastfeeding Outcomes in the United States: An Updated Systematic Review

Julia H. Kim, Jong C. Shin, Sharon M. Donovan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Returning to work is one of the main barriers to breastfeeding duration among working mothers in the United States. However, the impact of workplace lactation programs is unclear. Research Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of workplace lactation programs in the United States on breastfeeding practices. Methods: A systematic search was conducted of seven databases through September 2017. Articles (N = 10) meeting the inclusion criteria of describing a workplace lactation intervention and evaluation in the United States and measuring initiation, exclusivity, or duration using an experimental or observational study design were critically evaluated. Two reviewers conducted quality assessments and reviewed the full-text articles during the analysis. Results: Common services provided were breast pumps, social support, lactation rooms, and breastfeeding classes. Breastfeeding initiation was very high, ranging from 87% to 98%. Several factors were significantly associated with duration of exclusive breastfeeding: (a) receiving a breast pump for one year (8.3 versus 4.7 months), (b) return-to-work consultations (40% versus 17% at 6 months), and (c) telephone support (42% versus 15% at 6 months). Each additional service (except prenatal education) dose-dependently increased exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months. Sociodemographic information including older maternal age, working part-time, longer maternity leave, and white ethnicity were associated with longer breastfeeding duration. Conclusion: Workplace lactation interventions increased breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusive breastfeeding, with greater changes observed with more available services. More evidence is needed on the impact of workplace support in low-income populations, and the cost-effectiveness of these programs in reducing health care costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-113
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • breastfeeding duration
  • breastfeeding initiation
  • breastfeeding support
  • lactation workplace programs
  • program evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Effectiveness of Workplace Lactation Interventions on Breastfeeding Outcomes in the United States: An Updated Systematic Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this