We’ve been writing a lot about breastfeeding this month to remind moms how important it is to nurse their babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants be fed only breastmilk for the first six months of life. After that, the AAP suggests continuing breastfeeding while introducing solid foods until a baby’s first year.
A new study in this month’s Journal of Human Lactation shows that while more moms than ever are breastfeeding at birth, only 1 in 3 moms are still breastfeeding their babies at six months. The research also shows that moms who return to work or live in certain areas of the country are less likely to continue breastfeeding in the long term.
We know that when it comes to their babies, moms do the very best they can. We encourage moms to continue breastfeeding as long as they can, but know that sometimes life can be hectic.
If you’re planning on going back to work and want to continue long-term breastfeeding, ask your employer if there is a lactation policy or benefit in place. More companies are offering new moms a private place and time to express (pump) milk. You may want to consider a gradual transition by working from home a few days a week or working part-time. Employers will want to help you continue breastfeeding because moms of breastfed babies are sick less often and, therefore, miss work less often.
Learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding and helpful tips for nursing moms.