March 11, 2019

New Study on Maternity Leave Unveiled


A new study in the International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy finds a direct link between length of maternity leave and quality of mother-child interactions. The study: The Role of Length of Maternity Leave in Supporting Mother-Child Interactions and Attachment Security Among American Mothers and Their Infants suggests these results have implications for the development of family policies that support the needs of infants and mothers during the first months of life.


The implementation of comprehensive and universal maternity leave policy can complement child care policies. Both quality child care and maternity leave policies constitute solutions to similar needs. The results of this study support the need for parents to have the opportunity to choose to take maternity before infants enter child care. While quality child care can result in positive developmental outcomes for the infants, maternity leave can ensure that mothers have time off from work. This way, maternity leave can give mothers the opportunity to spend time with their infants, engage in positive and stress-free interactions, and learn to read a child’s cues before they negotiate the stress of balancing parenting and work. Ultimately, a combination of comprehensive maternity leave and child care policies will give each family the opportunity to have some choice in timing and combination of work, leave, and child care.

Read the complete study here.