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.
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