Exclusive Breastfeeding a Challenge for Many Mothers

pregnancy, childbirth, Bon Secours Hampton Roads, The Mary Immaculate Birthplace, The Midwifery Center at DePaul, The Maryview Family Birth Center, The DePaul Center for BirthBreastfeeding is natural, nourishing and beneficial to mother and child. But a new study shows how difficult it can be despite a woman’s desire to nurse her newborn.

In fact, although the majority of new moms intend to exclusively breastfeed their baby for at least the first three months, only one-third achieve this goal, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Previous studies have found that most mothers in the United States do not exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of an infant’s life – a recommendation endorsed by the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics. But researchers couldn’t say how long the mothers had intended to breastfeed, according to a news release from the AAP.

For this study, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention interviewed pregnant women and followed up with them during monthly surveys for the following year.

Eight-five percent of the women said they planned to exclusively breastfeed for three months or longer but only 32 percent followed through with their plans.

Those who were married or had given birth before were more likely to achieve their goals for breastfeeding.

Researchers found that certain factors helped determine whether women were successful. Breastfeeding within an hour of childbirth, avoiding the use of supplemental formula and not using pacifiers in the hospital all improved a women’s chances for meeting her goals.

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