It seems like a secret that no one tells first time moms. Info abounds about how good breastfeeding is for your baby so you’ve decided that, since you only want what’s best for your baby, you’re going to breastfeed. You’ll be the breastfeeding champ – the poster mom for breastfeeding! And then after three or four days of trying it, you’re almost ready to give up. HELP!
Breastfeeding problems are extremely common among first-time moms, often causing them to introduce formula or completely abandon breastfeeding within two months, report researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
The study found that although 75 percent of mothers in the United States initiate breastfeeding, only 13 percent of those women ultimately breastfeed exclusively for the recommended first six months of the child’s life. The most common concern was that the babies were not feeding well at the breast (52 percent), followed by breastfeeding pain (44 percent) and perceived lack of sufficient milk (40 percent). Education and support are key to turning these numbers around.
If you’re pregnant for the first time or planning a pregnancy, get some upfront facts about breastfeeding challenges. Talk to a lactation consultant, contact La Leche League, before you deliver as well as once the baby arrives. The first two weeks of breastfeeding are crucial for getting good guidance and support. Don’t feel like you should be able to do this on your own. It’s not like falling off a log – it takes education and work. Prepare for challenges because there likely will be some. (Who would have thought breastfeeding could hurt?!) Don’t despair and throw in the towel. Be prepared to work through ups and downs. With help and after perhaps several weeks of effort, for most women, everything should click into place.