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ERIC Number: ED405127
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Jan
Pages: 47
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
At What Cost? Women's Multiple Roles and the Management of Breastfeeding. Research Report No. 2.
Narayanan, Rama
This study examined the relationship between Indian women's work and breastfeeding, focusing on the constraints imposed by combining work with breastfeeding, the strategies women used, and the support they received. A non-probability convenience sample of 969 mothers of infants 1 year or younger (34 percent from rural areas) was used. Four areas of work were considered: household, child care, unpaid family labor, and paid economic work. Data were collected through personal interviews. Findings suggest that although it appears that breastfeeding is widely and successfully practiced--women cope well with the challenge of multiple roles and use a combination of strategies in breastfeeding--doing so exacts hidden social cost from women and their families. A majority of the women indicated that they needed help in doing household tasks. The growing trend toward nuclear families in India will require men to share the household task burden and will lead to conflict with the widespread social perception of gender roles. Women postponed resumption of paid work in order to breastfeed, with a negative impact on lower socioeconomic groups evidenced by reduced food intake and increased borrowing. Insufficient leave options often forced women to go on leave without pay, leading to financial losses. Constraints on exclusive breastfeeding were found in the lack of adequate support to mothers in performing multiple roles, especially for those doing paid work. (Appendices list the occupations for the women in the study and breastfeeding practices. Contains 23 references.) (KDFB)
M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Centre for Research on Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development, Third Cross Road, Taramani Institutional Area, Channai-600113, India; phone: 91-44-2351229; fax: 91-44-2351319; e-mail:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Madras (India).
Identifiers - Location: India