published in a recent edition of The American Sociological Review
found that women who breast-feed for six months or more pay a penalty in wages for the rest of their lives because of the lack of work policies that protect employed women's right to breast-feed on the job. Pediatricians and other breastfeeding advocates encourage new mothers to breastfeed their babies for at least the first six months of their infants' lives, arguing that breast milk is best for infants, families, and society, and it is cost free. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, the results of the study show that mothers who breastfeed for six months or longer suffer more severe and more prolonged earnings losses than do mothers who breastfeed for shorter durations or not at all. The larger post-birth drop in earnings for long-duration breastfeeders is due to a larger reduction in labor supply.