Objective: To examine the influences of inhospital administration of breast milk replacements and receipt of formula samples on lactation duration among women planning postpartum employment.
Design: Prospective design.
Setting: Telephone interviews conducted prenatally and at 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months post-partum.
Participants: Sixty-nine participants entered the study; 53 completed all scheduled interviews.
Main outcome measures: Incidence and type of in-hospital human milk replacement, incidence and sources of formula samples, incidence of breastfeeding at 6 weeks postpartum, and duration of lactation.
Results: During hospitalization, 19% of infants received formula; the incidence of breastfeeding at 6 weeks and duration of breastfeeding were significantly shorter in these infants compared with infants who were not fed formula. Fifty-nine percent of participants received formula samples from the hospital, 30% received samples from a physician's office, and 51% received samples by mail. Receipt of formula samples by mail was associated with reduced incidence of breastfeeding at 6 weeks and shortened duration of lactation.
Conclusions: Early formula feeding and receipt of formula samples by mail may be barriers to lactation in women employed outside the home.