Low Breastfeeding Rates

Hannah - posted on 03/25/2010 ( 60 moms have responded )

86

6

10

Based off the previous post:
YIKES!
by Tara Wilson March 22, 11:21 pm

Why do you think so many women in the Unites States don't start or give up on breastfeeding? I know one common reason is milk supply - is there anyone here that had issues with milk supply? I am lucky enough to have a great supply, but what confuses me is that how can a country like Sweden have 98% start and 53% continue after 6 months, but the US is only 57% and 20%? With a big reason being low supply, are Sweden's body's genitically different, so they have fewer issues with supply?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Celeste - posted on 03/25/2010

3,050

30

870

I think a main factor is misinformation. Mainly, they think that their supply is low when it's really not. Of course, let me be clear that there *are* women who do have true supply issues (ie. hypoplastic breasts, PCOS, among other factors)



Many women think that their supply is low because their babies are eating more often than their formula fed peers, especially during growth spurts. Or that they can't pump very much, which isn't indicative of supply.



Another factor lack of support with medical professionals. In my experience, some doctors are quick to blame breastfeeding for a baby's medical problems and will suggest formula, instead of trying to find a qualified breastfeeding professional (ie. IBCLC). Not gaining "enough"? Formula. Jaundice? Formula. And again, there *are* times when formula is medically necessary.



Anyway, those are my thoughts

Hannah - posted on 03/25/2010

86

6

10

Absolutely NOT Tara! I completely agree with everyone. I told myself I was going to be breastfeeding - no questions asked. I bought very few bottles, but only because I'd be returning to work. I never even bought formula as a back-up because I was dedicated before birth to breastfeed.

I honestly think that state of mind means a lot in whether or not a woman breastfeeds (not bashing). I went into the pregnancy and birth saying that I WAS going to breastfeed and never even considered stopping (even with the first month of agonizing pain). I have a friend who had her fist baby 1 week before me and she didn't breastfeed. At first she told me it was her nipples, etc. to cause her to quit, but later on she opened up and said, "well i was never really serious about it, so when it got a little rough, I just decided to stop." I think a lot of women will take one minor bump in the road and turn it into a road block. I'm just glad that she could admit the real reason and take responsibility for her choice!

I also agree that there a large lack of communication and information. I attended a breastfeeding class before birth and even now I think about all the things they should have told me - Yes it's going to hurt, Yes the first month is SO HARD, Yes you NEED to find a doctor that supports it, Yes you need to go into the birth COMMITTED. There's a lot more information new mothers need than just how to position the baby!!!!!!!

Maura - posted on 03/25/2010

1

0

0

I agree with the reasons pointed out above, but in Sweden, women can take a lot of parental leave, I am not sure, but I think it is one year.

In my country, most women start working again after a few months, so they feel forced to stop and their stories about breastfeeding are most of the times negative (because the first months are the hardest). When future mums hear these negative stories, they won't even give it a try when they are having their baby.



(sorry, english is not my native language)

Christina - posted on 04/03/2010

38

12

1

First of all, Hats of to Australia!!!!! I just wrote a book this past year about the complete life cycle of the child from my perspective of a lifetime of work with children of all ages and countries. I know I am not supposed to promote my business etc, but this is very relevant.

What I found when I looked at the overall problems that we see in our children today, including low exclusive breastfeeding rates, is that popular culture is more of an influence than ever on parenting practices via parent driven sit-coms, internet, and mom & pop blogs like this one. Oftentimes parents are seeking & utilizing advice from people who have never had children, or parents of very young children, who haven't had a chance to see the lifetime outcomes of their decisions today. Pop culture and marketing supports any and all methods and products to take the inconvenience out of parenting, which is usually contrary to what a child needs!

All of the above points are valid and what I feel is a VERY important missing link in solutions is EDUCATING COMMUNITIES so they can be more supportive for parents to make better decisions. In my book in the breastfeeding chapter, I have a list that is easily copied on The 10 Ways Every Adult Can Support a Breastfeeding Mother. This tool is designed specifically to refute many of the myths about milk supply, etc. (I am making presentations to churches and organizations on this very subject to create this support new moms desperately need.)

A mother's environment (eg. friends, spouses, parents, employers) is more influential in a her breastfeeding success than the mother herself. A stressful, unsupportive environment will prevent milk from flowing as it should, even when it is there.

ANyway, I also have this list on my blog so you don't have to buy the book because I am an educator foremost, at grannypantsspeaks.wordpress.com Please don't flag this because this is important information to copy and spread to others!

Melisa - posted on 03/27/2010

101

6

5

Emily I have to say -- I have a huge issue with the "It's OK to quit, you did your best" line you hear from all these women trying to support the women switching to formula for sore nipples, or lack of supply. I am involved with like 5 different message board sites and every time someone is switching to formula they like to tell their story to justify why they are making the switch. Everyone who responds just tries to make the poor poster feel good about their decision! Where is the advice? Where is the support to continue? I mean don't get me wrong. Someone will slip in something about fenugreek, or healing cracked nipples with BM, but in the end the advice is overlooked and the poster feels they are justified now because they have asked for the help. I would hope if I was going to quit someone would give me the facts straight up about the benefits.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

60 Comments

View replies by

[deleted account]

haha...i think maybe sweedish women are either more intelligent or more likely to make a bigger effort. Maybe they are healthier so they are more likely to have a good supply. Obesity is a problem for many women at least in Australia and th US so maybe that makes a difference. Sweedish women are in better shape,a healthy body makes healthy milk....don't bite my head off but i think as a general rule its true...healthy body,healthy pregnancy,healthy baby healthy milk. Simple as that. we need to take notes from sweedish ladies as they are clearly better educated than us...well not me of course !!! lol

Melissa - posted on 04/06/2010

42

18

2

I think there are a lot of factors that influence low breastfeeding rates that many ladies have pointed out. I have a lot of first time mom friends and I say to them if you're serious about breastfeeding, give it a chance. Most women don't realize that there is a vertical learning curve for the mom AND her baby when it comes to breastfeeding - its not 100% instinct and it takes about 6 weeks to properly establish. Again, this reiterates education prenatally and post natal support from doctors and lactation consultants.

I think there is a lot of influence from pharmaceutical companies that don't necessarily favor MD support for breastfeeding in favor if cash reward for pushing product. I could be 100% wrong, but when you have Good Start or Similac sitting on the counter as a free sample to try, what message is that really sending? What vote of confidence is that really portraying?

Education is important. My milk was slow to come in - the doctor gave me a prescription to help bring it in and it was smooth sailing from then on. My daugter nursed exclusively until she became too "busy" and weaned herself in the afternoons around 7 months. We still nursed mornings, evenings and nights. She'd never gotten sick, not even a cold until around 10 months when she was only really nursing before bed and in the mornings. She went back to nursing exclusively at that point - no more bottles and got better. There are real benefits that most people don't believe until they see it with their own eyes.

"Low milk production" as they call it can also be heavily affected by birth control - something a lot of doctors fail to mention to moms. My doctor pushed a progesterone only pill on me and I never should have done it. I had adequate supply regardless, but the lactation consultant noted its a real factor for nursing moms, not to mention the hormones caused my daughter to break out in baby acne...all I could think is what in the world am I doing to this kid? Amazing how much is actually transferred via breastmilk.


In Canada, we are lucky. If you can suck it up and work until as close as you can to the end of your pregnancy, you do have the full year of leave to be with your baby. My #2 is due in the middle of May (we think he's going to be early though...he wants out!) and I am working until the last week of April followed by 1 week's vacation, putting me technically off May 7. I owe it to him to be home as long as I can in his first year. I see other moms in other forums worried about how to space their kids - I think the focus should be how do you make the time you have with the ones you have count! Breatfeeding is an excellent way to make it count, challenges or not!

Lea-Andra - posted on 04/05/2010

32

14

1

I totally agree with you Carol.
Our La Leche League has three leaders and have had a total of 6 members at it at one time. That's pretty sad.

Johnny - posted on 04/05/2010

8,686

26

318

Lack of support and education are huge issues. As well, breastfeeding continues to be somewhat stigmatized as something "hippies" do, a viewpoint I find particularly prevalent amongst teens and younger childless women. Breasts are so sexualized that many women can not conceive of using them for their original purpose.

I will say that all of you who state that there is no such thing as "low milk supply" are misinformed and have clearly bought into the hype. I am currently nursing my 20 month old daughter, and continue to suffer from serious low milk supply issues. I am still taking domperidone to ensure that I get any supply at all. I had to supplement my daughter with donor milk, and then with formula when she was no longer eligible for the donor milk. Low milk supply is a serious and frustrating problem, made much worse by women who think you are lying about it and that you're just too lazy to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding rates will rise:

- when breasts are commonly viewed in Western societies not just for sex but for nurturing our young, their real purpose
- when women get appropriate pre-natal breastfeeding education and all have access to proper post-natal support
- when the formula companies are no longer allowed to advertise their products freely and are no longer allowed to give out free samples in hospitals
- when maternity leaves and financial support is extended for all mothers
- when women learn to support each other and not cut each other down or call each other ignorant and lazy for their failures.

Lea-Andra - posted on 04/05/2010

32

14

1

My daughter was considered tongue tied at birth but after a week it stretched and got better. So we didn't clip.
Sweden is more of a forward thinking country then the US or Canada. They have longer mat leave times, more support for births by midwives, less c secs, more natural births. I would say there is more support for breastfeeding as well.
Problem is, they consider formula as second choice, when it isn't, we were discussing this at my last La Leche League meeting. Really it goes breastfeeding, pumping, milk bank then formula. I had personally didn't know they had milk banks.
I fortunately have an awesome doctor that is very much in support of breastfeeding.

I find a lot of people don't have the right mind set. "I would like to do it, but I'm not sure". I went in with the mind set that I didn't want to pay for formula and I wasn't going to use it. Another issue I find is that when a problem occurs the solution isn't to supplement with forumla and keep breastfeeding, it's more to give up and formula feed.
My daughter lost over 10% of her birth weight, so I was told to supplement by our midwives. We got her weight up and went back to solely breastfeeding. She then wasn't gaining again properly, so I focused more on breastfeeding and different techniques, and then I had blocked milk ducts, and I focused on that. Now all is good and we are happily breastfeeding and I wouldn't change it for the world.

One other thing I find is this. A long time ago it was the people who could afford it that would formula feed and people who were low income would breastfeed and now that has switched. Interesting.

Caronne - posted on 04/05/2010

24

6

1

Lise, my son also was tongue tied, but after a lot of research I went ahead and had it clipped instead of allowing him to walk around like that for the rest of his life, (it was so harmful & very quick for him, I think I was in more pain then he lol) please don't think I am telling you what to do with your child, but in the long run it will make the child's life a lot better. Again this is just my opinion

Emily - posted on 04/05/2010

257

10

20

One huge reason has to be the complete lack of adequate maternity leaves in the US... no other developed country can compare. In Canada, we get a whole year - lots of time to breastfeed and especially to develop a good milk supply! What amazes me is that ANY mother in the US who works outside the home manages to breastfeed successfully - the entire social structure is engineered against them! It also doesn't help when people don't have easy and free access to quality health care. Sweden has great maternity leaves and high quality public health care... coincidence, I think not!

Jennifer - posted on 04/05/2010

345

20

29

They should have clipped the tongue tie at birth -- they used to do that but they decided it didn't help and so many were bottle fed it was not really an issue for them. Tongue tie itself is caused by our modern diets low in natural folate (many of us have a genetic defect that prevents us from using the folic acid in supplements and fortified foods -- we need the real deal from food or a prescription for a special form of folate). Tongue tie is actually a midline defect related to cleft palate. I found this out on my own, my doctor didn't tell me any of that. I had to search on my own to find a doctor to clip my daughter's tongue tie, even though I took her to a supposedly pro-breastfeeding doctor and birthed at home with a midwife.
Anyway, latch is super important as is positioning, and few medical professionals know or do anything about it. It should be a routine part of the birth exam along with being followed up on at two weeks and again at one month. Supply is all a matter of stimulation of the breasts, and babies who can't latch right don't stimulate them enough.

Lise - posted on 04/04/2010

1,738

8

233

Caronne, while I do agree dedication is a big part, there are other aspects too. My LO was tongue tied so she couldn't give me enough stimulation to bring in the milk.

Caronne - posted on 04/04/2010

24

6

1

Personally I know it has nothing to do with supply at all....it has everything to do with DEDICATION!!!! If you are dedicated & organized then you wont have an issue with supply, I had my son a little over 11mths ago & have never had an issue with my supply, He is my first child also. We are "too busy" & quit to give up, then to take the time to care & provide the best for our children. A breast feeding mother needs plenty of rest, nourishment & time with her child. I was producing so much milk in the beginning that I began freezing it and giving some to charity. I still breast feed or pump at least 3-4times per day. My son has never had an issue with his weight at all either. It is time for us to set up & do what is right for our child & ourselves. Women that breast feed have a lower chance of getting breast cancer also. This is my opinion & I STAND very strongly behind it. Thank You

Lise - posted on 04/03/2010

1,738

8

233

As a note, my LO dropped almost 30% (YIKES) of her birthweight. My pedi didn't recommend formula, though many would have, and my LO is doing great and gaining well.

Naomi - posted on 04/02/2010

24

2

1

I'm in Australia and have a 6.5 month old son. The first 9 weeks of breast feeding i cried almost every time i fed him and he even spewed up blood from my burst blister on my nipple. He also hardly put on any weight for 6 weeks. All 7 of my friends who had babies around the same time as i did were all now formula feeding. So they all were encouraging me to formula feed. I persisted with the boob though and am still happily feeding him pain free :). He had a day of boob refusal and i almost cried thinking i would have to give up breast feeding! I think that people who formula feed tell other people how hard breast feeding is and how it'll make your boobs 'saggy' and how formula is just as good as breast milk if not better (I was so shocked when someone told me this!!!!). I've had people ask me if i feel 'inbred' when breastfeeding!!!!! That was the most offensive thing i have ever heard!!!! There is obviously a massive lack of info for people to think such ridiculous things about breast feeding!

Tawnya - posted on 04/01/2010

5

24

0

I agree with all everyone's comments about the lack of education and lack of support. I do not live very close to a "large city," so I was not able to find many resources like LC's and La Leche League. The one woman who's number the hospital provided wasn't even very helpful. I think that many "veterans" are scared to tell pregnant women that breastfeeding can hurt in the beginning. I was very fortunate to have a sister- in- law who has breastfed four kids. She was honest and up front with me about her experiences, which helped me to know I wasn't the only one suffering with pain those first few weeks.

I also feel a lot of women may be "tempted" by the formula companies. I have a whole cabinet full of free formula that was mailed to me or given to me at my obgyn's. I never signed up for formula, and I told my doctor that I would be breastfeeding from the get go. I plan on giving my formula to the mission now that I have a pretty good supply of milk saved.

Jacki - posted on 03/31/2010

11

7

1

The stats are very interesting. I think it is the support system that Sweden has honestly. As far as the low supply issues when I was pregnant I never thought there could be such a thing. I was so anti formula before I had Elias. When he was born he was tongue tide, we didnt catch it till he was three days old. By the time he left the hospital he had lost almost a pound. Pedi was constantly saying I needed to supplement which I refused for quite sometime until finally my lactation consultant stated we needed to. I tried everything pumping more to increase supply, natural supplements, reglan (would never recommend), domperidone( order from New Zealand) all of which never really helped my supply. I still nursed Elias till he weened himself at 7 months. He would usually get 2-3 bottles a day usually in the evening when my supply took a major dip.

I think the majority of women give up because of the difficult bumps in the road or the lack of support system. I had major bumps and a great support system. If I could stick it out with all of our problems I think any woman can!

[deleted account]

I think lack of support is a big one. Many non-breastfeeding moms (and dads) have said to me things like, "it'll ruin mom's perfect breasts" or "it hurt too much/nipples bled". Not very many know about La Leche League, and I was the only mom-to-be I knew who attended their meetings..Personally breastfeeding was very challenging for me, and I wouldn't have persevered had it not been for the loving support I had from friends, family and LLL.

Tanya - posted on 03/31/2010

316

42

8

I agree with the posts above that it is misinformation. It's supposed to be hard at first. And milk supply increases with on demand feedings. Your baby will make you make more if you let him.
But i think a lot of it has to do with lack of support, both culturally and from families and doctors. Many of our mothers (like mine) didn't breastfeed or if they did (like my grandmother) supplemented or added solids when the baby was very young. So even though I was supported in my choice to breastfeed, my family was skeptical that breastmilk would be enough for 6 months. Even my doctor, at my son's 6 month checkup (which he had at 5.5 months) said I needed to start him on iron-fortified cereal right away because 6 months is really the LONGEST you can wait since breastmilk doesn't have enough (which of course the research disproves).

Even before giving birth, when I told me ob I was going to breastfeed, she would always respond, "You can try, but it's ok if it doesn' work out." That's not the kind of attitude that leads to success. It should be more like, "We'll help you figure out how to make it work."

Brenda - posted on 03/31/2010

26

2

0

the low US rate is probably more to do with a lack of support for BF mums and a push by those formula companies - supply equals demand - the more you feed the more you produce - keep feeding and try to feed a little more often. We're very lucky here in Australia to have a fabulous organisation - the Australian Breastfeeding Association - google their website, it has amazingly helpful informaiton :)

Katrina - posted on 03/30/2010

13

13

1

There is no such thing as low supply. 99.9% of all women who breastfeedbon demand will produce enough milk. Low support is the real reason for the pathetically low breastfeeding rates in the us. Women are encouraged to supplement with formula an bjust give up. They are also poorly educated about the health hazzaards of artificial baby milk, and lead to believe that formula is just as good. Fact is it's not comparable in any wAy!

Jennifer - posted on 03/30/2010

345

20

29

I know there are donors who are dairy free -- both vegans and those with allergies.
I am glad I am a stay at home mom -- even so, it was a challenge with ds, who kept getting thrush, was orally defensive, and was a back archer. I remember when he was four months and I still hadn't got the hang of it calling my best friend and saying I was going to quit, and she calmly told me formula would probably make the thrush worse. I actually tried to feed him some, and he would have none of it, thank goodness.

Lauren - posted on 03/30/2010

52

74

6

Jennifer, thanks for the information. I will definitely check into it. The only problem that I might run into if I go that route is that my daughter has issues with dairy and I have cuty most of it out of my diet so I will have to find a donor that doesn't concume dairy.

Hannah - posted on 03/30/2010

86

6

10

Amy, I completely agree with you! I returned to work fulltime after 10 weeks. In the morning I feed my boy when I get and pump what's left before I leave. I pump 2 or 3 times at working depending on scehdule (in car if I have to) then pump before bed and additional on the weekends as well. It is a lot of committement - even just washing your equipment after each use can be tiring - I feel like I am always at the sink!

Amy - posted on 03/30/2010

3

0

0

Lots of women in the U.S. return to work fulltime 6 weeks to 12 weeks after having a baby. It takes a lot of commitment to pump that much at work. I pump in my car four times a day, when I arrive, twice during the day, and before I leave, and I only work 8:30-3:30. Then I pump in the evening before I go to bed. I also pumped extra on the weekends. That's a lot of commitment, and in the short-term it is hugely inconvenient.. when you are trying to deal with having a little baby, lack of sleep, and supporting your family financially, it's a lot to ask of anyone... that's why I would never bash someone who chose to formula feed. Not everyone has the time, energy or vacation, support at work to get all this done... If someone had given me a hard time about formula feeding my first one, I would have had some choice words to say, and it probably would have just cemented my decision more... as it was, I was disappointed that I couldn't make it work the first time and did better planning the second time...



Education and support are both issues. The benefits are not emphasized enough. Employers are not supportive enough. Physicians can be sorta lukewarm about it. I will say that after making it work this time (she's 11 months old), I have not missed a single day of work due to her being ill... hence, more information about the benefits would be good, not just for mothers, but for the whole community.

Jennifer - posted on 03/29/2010

345

20

29

Oh, and Lauren, you could try to use donor milk to supplement with. There is a website called Milk Share where you can post your need; also I think your local la leche league may be able to help (officially they don't recommend sharing milk except through a milk bank, which is uber expensive, but you might be able to meet some moms who have extra to give you. If you post to your local Finding Your Tribe Area in Mothering.com/discussions you might be able to find a donor or donors as well. I'd offer mine, except I have excess lipase and my milk must be scalded before I can store it.

Jennifer - posted on 03/29/2010

345

20

29

I think most of it has to do with our culture -- we are a formula feeding culture and that is hard to change. We are bombarded with formula propaganda, from the media, hospitals, pediatricians, etc. Many were formula fed and feel that it was fine for them. Also, with many moms working outside the home, pumping seems less convenient.
But also, we are as a culture haters of food and sensuality. Breastfeeding triggers both these. We have that whole puritanical hatred of the body and pleasure. Breastfeeding is pleasurable (in most cases) for both baby and mom, and we as a culture don't like that. We like to see our babies denied pleasure -- just look at how many feel pressured to use Cry it Out to sleep train our babies. And first foods -- rice cereal and mushy veggies. Ick!
I am fortunate to have been able to breast feed my ds for as long as he wanted, and am breastfeeding my baby girl. I had to seek out help though, especially for her tongue tie.
Oh, and then there is the whole public breastfeeding thing. I live in the Pacific Northwest, which is supposedly pretty supportive of breastfeeding, but I still almost never see a mom nursing in public; it can be hard to breastfeed if you feel that you can't leave the home with your nursing baby. I often nurse in the car, which I don't like doing, but I hate the stares I get nursing in public.

Kaili - posted on 03/29/2010

2

16

0

I feel that beyond the lack of proper information as well as lack of support, there are woman who just don't have the 'patients' for it as well as the 'time' ... any excuse is a good one?!? Don't get me wrong, there ARE medical resonings for most .. but not for all .. wouldn't it then NATURALLY be thought that the human race would not continue if it weren't for FORMULA ... a man made substance that is benefical MOSTLY to the marketers that are targeting the BABIES. I was worried that with my smaller chest size I would have problems nursing .. however my baby is almost 9 months and we've strictly breast fed this entire time. The more you nurse the more you make ... Babies who are breastfed also find it a comfort to suckle and therefore may seem as though they are feeding more often .. it is also very hard to determine how much they're getting while nursing. If baby is gaining weight, baby is doing fine. Now .. I have Sweden in my genetics .. but do not think that it has anything to do with my supply. I think that many woman have not the patients or energy to do so. It is EASIER for them to use formula. A breast feeding woman never has to worry about :
packing, warming or cooling bottles - Its always ready to go
many woman will not menstruate while nursing ... this is a bonus
many woman will have better times loosing the 'baby weight' from nursing as it not only contracts your uterus but uses atleast 300 cal. / day.
Nursing has some magical bond that is absolutely something you only know from experience - it is 1 year out of your life .. I find that nursing has given me a beautiful excuse to just be with my baby while he stays a baby.

[deleted account]

Okay, I totally didn't address the working mom issue at all! Those are some great points Summer and Jenn, I have friends who were working when they had their kids and they were not at all willing to make it work because it was so hard, with the lack of privacy and the short maternity leaves they were given.

[deleted account]

It doesn't help that American women only get what, 4 weeks of maternity leave? Here in Canada we get 54 weeks, and believe me if I had to go back to my job where my rights as a breastfeeding mother weren't guaranteed how would you make it work? Even after my 54 week mat leave, when I returned to work my employer still had to give me 2 additional pumping breaks on top of the breaks and lunch hour that are mandated to my by the government. American women get the short end of the stick for sure!

Summer - posted on 03/29/2010

8

24

0

It has nothing to do with milk supply and everything to do with the fact that most doctors give you free samples of formula, encourage weaning by 6 months to a year and are very ignorant when it comes to breastfeeding support and increasing milk supply on the rare instance that supply is the problem. Also, maternity leave for most moms is only 6 weeks. The ability to breastfeed while at work is greatly diminished. The U.S. is just not a breastfeeding friendly country at all.

Lauren - posted on 03/29/2010

52

74

6

I am a mother that can say "I have struggled with "borderline" milk supply. With my first child, I started off well and then something happened. My milk supply was not keeping up with him and I did everything just shy of the domperidone! He was supplemented eventually but I did nurse him exclusively when I was around and we nursed until he was one.
I just had my second child in January. I was bound and determined not to supplement with her. She went from 8lbs 13ozs to 7lbs 9ozs in 5 days and was eating all the time. My doctor supported whatever I wanted to do but didn't go in any real direction. I kept in contact with the lactation consultants at the hospital. They were lifesavers. I did have to supplement for a while, but I did it while she was at the breast and it worked. I invested in the More Milk Plus capsules along with the Mother's Milk Tea and I have been exclusive for about six weeks now. Very exciting!
I pump at work but I do not produce enough for the equivelant in bottles and I am running out of my freezer supply so I know the time is coming for me to buy formula. I really hate to do it but I am proud that I got this far!
I will continue to pump at work and exclusively feed at home. She may need to have some formula here and there but I know that I have worked hard for her and the work is well worth it.

[deleted account]

For the vast majority of women it is education. Breastfeeding can be difficult, at least if you have any challenge you don't know how to easily resolve yourself it can be very frustrating, painful and depressing if you've just given birth and you're dealing with hormone and lifestyle changes. Many women are uncomfortable with inviting a breastfeeding expert to their home, whether it's a friend or professional. Women who undervalue the miracle of feeding your baby the best and cheapest often don't know just how good it is. It seems that women are nervous about talking about breastfeeding in our culture and almost embarrassed about what their bodies can do. One of my friends didn't try at all b/c she heard it was hard. Not just hard but she heard about other's difficulties and decided it wasn't worth it.

Michelle - posted on 03/29/2010

259

10

19

I wonder what the statistics are for women [of legal adult age] who chose to breastfeed . We here in the U.S. do have a large percentage of births to teens who are not adults and also not had the time to think things through further than just wanting a baby .
I am in no way bashing anyone . My oldest was born when I was 17 , up until that test came back + I had never even though about ever having kids , let alone breastfeeding . I had also heard nothing if very little up until that point of humans being able to provide nurishment for their babies I had only seen bottles shoved in babies mouths .
My OBGYN office had a LC and made you take tons of classes if you were underage , including a breast feeding class , I was also signed up for WIC , which also at the time forced you to sit for classes to get your packages . They also were PRO-Breast feeding .
I was blessed to receive a lot of info . I also received a lot of resistance from family members saying it was unnatural . Lack of support after my son was born, and a severe case of thrush I gave up after a couple months . HOWEVER .... I was on a warpath with baby #2 !
I pushed forward with getting phone #s for help lines , and made sure to stay on top of things , The LC at the second hospital blessed me with some lansinoh [wish I had it w/ #1] and sheilds for soreness . I breast fed #2 until he was almost a year old . #3 to right about a year , #4 only a few months because I had to go back to work and the boss was anti family . #5 I BF for 18 months . I am really hoping that #6 goes as all the others did after I finally got the hang of it !
I have noticed that with child #1 , I received so much pregnancy education and classes , that my other pregnancies you had to ask about classes , and education misc . They never have even asked me with the other kids if I planned to BF or what ever other things to think about . I never received literature , info , etc . All has been left for me to find on my own .
I know education as far as breastfeeding can have a major impact on the choice , but hardly see any thing like back 16 years ago where breastfeeding info was plastered all over the OBGYN's office and all over WIC .

Tara - posted on 03/29/2010

167

20

19

Thats really amazing! ya i finally found a pediatritian with an LC on staff too

Hannah - posted on 03/29/2010

86

6

10

That shows a good point of origin, Tara!

As far as pediatricians go, I'm a first time mom, so when I was looking for a pediatrician I asked their views on breastfeeding and if they were a certified lactation consultant. By doing this I found a doctor who really supports it and not one who's just familiar with it. I actually feel accomplished every 2 months when we go for our well-checkup and I get to tell her I'm still breastfeeding!

Tara - posted on 03/28/2010

167

20

19

i have something from my babytalk magazine that says US hospital breastfeeding scores are 63 out of 100 wow theres a start to try to fix the problem. ill be back to type what it says

[deleted account]

I can only speak from an Australian perspective here. Rates have improved (about 92% on initiation, about 56% at about 4 6 months, 2009 figures) but many lobby groups have been working hard on this. It was a much sadder picture when I was breastfeeding (about 30 years ago.)



As a result of all the work the pro-breastfeeding lobby has done, lots of good things are happening.



The Australian Government has initiated an Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy:

http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/p...$File/Breastfeeding_strat1015.pdf



This includes a 24 hr Helpline providing breastfeeding advice and peer-to-peer support.



Formula is not advertised, although it's readily available. Free samples of formula are not given in hospitals. I don't know if this is as a result of legislation or not.



I think it started from a grass-roots base. Breastfeeding mums (and we were a bunch of radicals back then!) were the ones who did the hard yards, knocked on doors and wrote letters to politicians. Back in my day, breastfeeding counsellors routinely visited hospitals - only if we were asked - and schools. Some high schools wanted their senior student to get some breastfeeding information.



The job is not over. I think that's the best way to proceed. There's a lack of correct knowledge out there, and in fact some downright misinformation. It's up to those want breastfeeding to become the norm to work with the community to promote breastfeeding.

Geralyn - posted on 03/28/2010

1,615

35

240

I think that there are different reasons for it - including the reasons that moms mentioned in their posts. However, there are definitely those moms who stop BF'ing (or don't even start) because of the work that it takes, and the pain, at least initially, and the inconvenience. They do not want to nurse ever 2-3 hours around the clock for months on end. It doesn't fit their lifestyles or schedules. That is selfish. When they give reasons for stopping, they are not going to say it was because they were selfish. They will say nursing or supply problems.... I just thought that we should include this group in the discussion....

Yuki - posted on 03/27/2010

40

5

2

You know, it really surprises me to hear that some of you have had issues with your pediatricians telling you things contrary to what you've read on BFing. I, luckily, had a wonderful pediatrician who was always so supportive about BFing. She knew my kids weren't gaining as much weight as some of their peers, but their percentiles were consistent, and she also factored in genetics. Some kids are just skinny. She raised no concern with my kids because they were always happy, healthy and thriving. The only time she ever encouraged me to supplement was if I was bone dry on both sides and they were still acting hungry, but that never happened, especially once they were introduced to solids.

BFing in the US is, unfortunately, kind of taboo. I don't know why. We have the worst healthcare and maternity leave in the world, which is sad, since we're the wealthiest nation. I feel that women in the US are severely undereducated about BFing, and that's so unfortunate because it's so good for both the baby and the mommy.

Emily - posted on 03/27/2010

2,233

8

295

I think it's both a cultural issue and an educational one. We grow up in a society where bottles are the norm and breastfeeding is expected to be done in private. How do we expect our young girls (and boys!) to learn about breastfeeding if they're not exposed to it?

Women are just not routinely given adequate support or information. So many women think their milk isn't adequate when it's just not the case. Also if you try to encourage women to continue breastfeeding, you get 10 other moms saying "It's okay to quit, you did your best." So it becomes much easier to quit when everyone else is telling you it's okay.

Dominique - posted on 03/27/2010

23

2

0

I think it's due to ignorance. If doctors and mothers only knew of all the health benefits they might change their mind. On top of that there is a big push for formula from hospitals, doctors and companies. Formula is not as good as breast milk!

Karen Sue - posted on 03/27/2010

51

124

2

My supply is not enough for my child WHEN I PUMP; I pump at work 2-3 times a day but only get a couple of ounces total each time I pump, and she drinks 6-8 oz. at a time from bottle. Things were fine at first, because I also had a fantastic milk supply for about the first 2 months, then it dropped off and we used up the milk we had stored. With my firstborn, the pumping and low milk supply caused me so much anxiety that I gave up and switched her to formula. I refuse to do that this time. Yes, she is supplemented with formula when needed, but now at almost 18 weeks, she is also eating some solids which helps, and I bf exclusively when I am home with her. Normally, I even come home from work on my lunch break during the week to feed the baby.



I think America's problem is that we rush things so much more than they do in other countries... we don't allow much time off work for maternity leave (I went back after 6 weeks; thankfully, my little one and I were doing well w/bfing before I went back), we try to constantly multi-task (which I really think is an American problem), we take fewer vacations, I think all of this just adds more stress and I know the more stressed I am, the lower my milk supply. I know a lot of women who started out breastfeeding and switched to formula pretty much immediately after returning to work because it's just hard to find the time or a place to pump at work.



Another issue, I think, is that while health care pros who specialize in pediatric care know the benefits of breastfeeding and recommend it, most people don't know anything about it. I will do what is best for my child, but I find it amazing how un-supportive those around me are sometimes - most think it is just weird and embarrassing and they especially harass me when I tell them I plan to breastfeed until my child is two or until she weans herself, whether before or after that. With my firstborn, who is now 8, I gave up too easily because of the stress of low milk supply and because of what those around me thought. Too many women, I feel, give up for the same reasons...

Melisa - posted on 03/27/2010

101

6

5

I am always so frustrated by this topic and could go on for ages! I am in Canada and we must have higher rates as our maternity leave is for 1 year (I am sure that must have a lot to do with it because I know how hard pumping can be.). But it is still quite low I am sure.

When I think of anything that has to do with raising my babe, I think of what they would have done 1000 years ago etc. What would these women who have "lack of supply" or better yet, sore nipples, done 1000 years ago? There were nurse maids for people who were well off, but most of those babies would have died! I know it's a horrible thought!! And a mother would have obviously done anything in the best interest of her child. One day I might say it, but for now to each their own in their parenting style.

I also think people need to breastfeed in public more. I get the weirdest looks when I sit on the bench in the mall and breastfeed with no shame. And the fight in me has the breastfeeding bylaws memorized for the jerk who comes up to tell me to go somewhere more hidden..

Anneke - posted on 03/26/2010

317

61

29

you think US is low, Ireland is lower. No promotion here at all! I was asked and that was it, I wasnt told what it had it in just everyone assumes your bottle feeding and the amount of bottle feeding stuff and formula I was bought when I was pregnant! the amount of things I was told about bf was bad and that parenthood was a nightmare with babies being sick and never sleeping. Thats the stuff I was told! I was also told the midwife will make me breastfeed but that only so they dont have to give free milk and will save them a buck! can you believe that! and all the ignorant remarks about how formula is no different. I really feel i don't fit in this country at all. No one could be bothered to be parents any more they pass of babies to everyone else because they want their lives back and lots apparently feel sorry for me because they think i don't have a life when I breastfeed and that i should stop and go for a drink with them. Being a parent gets in some peoples ways here. I hardly seen my parents when I was growing up, to busy working and passing me about to several people I didnt know. I dont even have a bond with them. :( my kids getting the opposite treatment !

never mind giving support education for a start would be good!

Elizabeth - posted on 03/26/2010

129

4

6

I'm not sure what the breast-feeding rate is in NZ. About 50% of the women I know with kids have breast-fed them. But I agree that limited maternity leave angle must surely have a significant impact.

I had to go back to work when my daughter was 6 mths old (she's at home with daddy), and finding two times a day to express can be a real struggle. The only reason my supply is still okay is that daddy was bringing her in for a lunch time feed and she now nurses every 2 hours or so at night (she was sleeping through the night before I went back to work). Thank goodness pregnancy got me used to sleep deprivation - but trying to maintain a breast-feeding relationship with your child when you have to go back to work before b/fing has become second-nature.. how hard! It took a good 2 months for my daughter and I to really get the hang of it. If I'd had to go back to work at 6 weeks... *shudders*

Beck - posted on 03/25/2010

609

0

111

It also has a lot to do with maternity leave. Norway which has a high rate also has 12mths PAID leave and lots of other assistance to Bfeeding mums. This would obviously help if you are required to return to work.

Tara - posted on 03/25/2010

167

20

19

oh ya i totally agree with ya hannah :) i hope anyone who wants to breastfeed gets a better support system than some of us. i too think its sad when someone says its gross they will never do that and making us who do breastfeed feel bad, but we really truly know the benefits and i will point that out to anyone who tells me its not ok to breastfeed after a certain age.
Celeste- i too had a preemie and with nipple preference and all that and it took 2-3 months for my baby to breastfeed. it was mostly my fault though, i wanted him home sooner so i told them to go ahead and give him a bottle which they discouraged that lol but he came home sooner and i was able to get some help on the bottle/breastfeeding thing :)
keep up the good work guys!!

Celeste - posted on 03/25/2010

3,050

30

870

Hannah, I think that's a great point, too. I had a lot of issues with my twins-prematurity, nipple confusion with one of them, lack of support. It would've been really easy for me to quit after the first week. It took me 6 weeks of hard work, commitment, frustration and heartbreak for him to finally nurse well. Even after that, we still ran into problems but with the help of an IBCLC, we were able to work through it.

Hannah - posted on 03/25/2010

86

6

10

Thank you everyone for responding! I try and stay open minded and understanding to women's choices, but at the same time I find it hard to understand why you wouldn't breastfeed. WAY TO GO ETTA for keeping with it! if only more mothers had your DEDICATION!



I will share a quick story: Soon after giving birth, I had a few girl friends come to visit - my best friend being one of them. We were discussing breastfeeding (as I was and another girl is serious about doing it when she has her first baby). My best friend said with a rather disgusted face, "I am never breastfeeding." I honestly can't put words to how this made me feel - like I was doing this horrible, unthinkable thing. I think about it all the time and it just pushes me to keep going - almost just to stick it in her face. I feel saddest for her though, that she's not even married, or expecting a child and she's already saying NO to breastfeeding... I just don't get it.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms