The heterogeneous associations of universal cash-payouts with breastfeeding initiation and continuation

Existing health literature documents the benefits of breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Prior research on barriers to breastfeeding has focused on the role of hospital initiatives, return to work, and individual mothers' characteristics. This study uses data from Alaska's Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System and the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend, to investigate whether universal income support shapes mothers' breastfeeding behaviors. We find that payouts are associated with increases in breastfeeding initiation and short-term continuation (three months) among a sample of urban Alaskan mothers. These associations differ across mothers' socioeconomic and demographic characteristics (i.e., education, economic status, race, marital status). We contend that this type of income intervention may complement existing efforts to promote breastfeeding by removing financial barriers to breastfeeding.