Paid maternity leave and breastfeeding practice before and after California's implementation of the nation's first paid family leave program

Econ Hum Biol. 2015 Jan;16:45-59. doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2013.12.009. Epub 2014 Jan 22.


California was the first state in the United States to implement a paid family leave (PFL) program in 2004. We use data from the Infant Feeding Practices Study to examine the changes in breastfeeding practices in California relative to other states before and after the implementation of PFL. We find an increase of 3-5 percentage points for exclusive breastfeeding and an increase of 10-20 percentage points for breastfeeding at several important markers of early infancy. Our study supports the recommendation of the Surgeon General to establish paid leave policies as a strategy for promoting breastfeeding.

Keywords: Breastfeeding; California's paid family leave; Maternity leave.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • California
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mothers*
  • Parental Leave / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Parental Leave / statistics & numerical data*
  • Salaries and Fringe Benefits
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Women, Working / statistics & numerical data*