August 2017

IZA DP No. 10937: Violent Conflict and Breastfeeding: The Case of Iraq

forthcoming in: Conflict and Health

This study explores the relationship between armed conflict and breastfeeding practices of Iraqi mothers. Using a unique pairing of the Iraq Body Count database, in conjunction with the 2006 and 2011 Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys for Iraq, we find that increases in conflict-related casualties are associated with a decline in breastfeeding incidence, with some mixed results on breastfeeding duration. We also explore a number of potential causal channels, including interactions with household wealth and accessibility of formula. The results are informative in the context of designing policy aimed at stabilizing the long-term health and productivity of populations in conflict areas.