A recent study showed that 85% of mothers want to exclusively breastfeed for at least 3 months, just 32% make it to that actual goal. This got me thinking…why? Why are so many women failing to reach their goal of nursing baby?
- I feel like it’s a commitment issue. I know women give up breastfeeding for many reasons, such as returning to work, or latch issues, but there are ways around this. I think if women had more support it would be easier. You can always contact the La Leche League, call the lactation consultant at the hospital or birthing center where you delivered, talk to a doula, a friend or family member who has breastfed. I actually found a lot of breastfeeding support on twitter, believe it or not.
- The first few weeks of nursing are extremely hard. Women need to be prepared for that, and know that you are not facing these challenges alone. I feel like the decision to breastfeed should be made during pregnancy. That way pregnant women can take the time to research, read books and get ready to breastfeed. I think so many moms (especially first time mothers) fall under the assumption that since breastfeeding is “natural” that will come easy. That’s not the case. In many other cultures around the world, women are pampered in the postpartum period. Their family and friends rally around them to help them learn to breastfeed and care for their newborn.
- I have also heard many of my mom friends end up quitting breastfeeding because their pediatrician says the baby “isn’t gaining enough weight.” Doctors love to say this! They even told me that, and there was no way I was going to supplement with formula for my sweet 5 day old baby. It is important to realize pediatricians may not be well versed in breastfeeding, they aren’t lactation consultants, so you do not have to take their suggestion as the end all be all. I chose not to, I went home and started pumping like crazy and letting baby nurse on demand, not going more than 2-3 hours without nursing.
I am no chastising mothers who give up breastfeeding. I give kudos to ANY breastfeeding mama, whether you did it for 2 days or 2 years. My point is, commit to breastfeeding, find support and do it for your baby.