The Association between Maternal Relationship Status and Breastfeeding Behaviors
Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Survey (N = 3,567), we examine the links between relationship status, relationship quality, and race and ethnicity in breastfeeding initiation. We consider four relationship types: married, cohabiting, romantically involved but not cohabiting (termed visiting), and nonromantically involved mothers. We find that even after adjusting for a wide range of sociodemographic factors, married mothers were more likely to breastfeed than unmarried mothers, and that racial and ethnic differences in breastfeeding do not result from differences in marriage rates. Among unwed mothers, paternal provision of money or other assistance during pregnancy decreases the likelihood of breastfeeding. We conclude that relationship status, above and beyond demographic characteristics, is an important correlate of breastfeeding.
Gibson Davis, CM; Brooks Gunn, J
Journal of Marriage and Family
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