We show that children who are born at the weekend or just before are less likely to be breastfed, owing to poorer breastfeeding support services at weekends. We use this variation to estimate the effect of breastfeeding on children's development for a sample of uncomplicated births from low educated mothers. We find that breastfeeding has large effects on children's cognitive development, but not on non-cognitive development or health. Regarding mechanisms, we estimate how breastfeeding affects parental investments in the child and the quality of the mother-child relationship.
Breastfeeding timing of birth hospital support instrumental variables optimal instruments cognitive and non-cognitive development health