Gee. This one's a real eye opener. New research published in the journal Pediatrics has determined why many new moms stop breastfeeding after just a few weeks -- and the reason makes total sense.
Of the moms who were interviewed for the study, it turns out that those who worried about breastfeeding from the get-go were more likely to quit. Whether it be anxiety over whether the baby would latch on correctly, whether breastfeeding would hurt, or whether they'd produce enough milk to feed their child -- moms who went into breastfeeding with these fears in their head were much more likely to make the switch to formula early on.
As someone who gave up on the whole breastfeeding gig after about two weeks, I think there's a lot of truth and merit to this study for sure. I stopped because I was exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed out, sore, and I didn't feel like my son was getting enough to eat. But honestly, I had all of those worries well before I gave birth to him, so I went into breastfeeding kind of believing I'd probably fail at it.
And honestly, my lack of self confidence isn't all that surprising, considering I really don't remember receiving much education on the subject during those prenatal classes I took prior to my son's arrival. I mean, breastfeeding may have been thrown briefly into the subject matter, but most of it was focused around the actual labor and delivery -- not the aftermath.
I can remember the nurse handing me my baby right after the birth and saying something like, "He's probably hungry -- why don't you go ahead and breastfeed him?"
And my reaction went something like this:
"Huh? Oh, ok. (Brings baby's head towards the boob.) Um, he's not doing anything. I don't think he's getting it. I have no clue what I'm doing here. Fu%& this."
Then the nurse kind of popped him on there for me -- but I still had no idea how to get him to latch on myself. And by the time the lactation witch consultant showed up in my recovery room the next morning, I was already feeling major anxiety about the process and had dreams of bottles and formula running through my head.
Fast forward to two weeks later, when I basically said, "Oh, to HELL with it!" and switched to the bottle and never looked back.
I wouldn't say that I regret my decision because my little guy turned out perfectly fine -- but I do think things would have gone a lot smoother for me if I'd known a lot more about breastfeeding during my pregnancy. At least if I'd been educated, I would've been more at ease when I actually had to do it, and maybe it wouldn't have been such a huge challenge for me.
I'm all for moms offering the boob and sticking with it for as long as possible if that's something that works for them. But how the heck can we expect them to do it if we don't teach them what to do?!?
There's so much focus on instructing us how to actually have the baby, because we've never done it before. Well guess what? New moms haven't breastfed before either -- so wouldn't it make sense to put just as much emphasis onto that part of the whole parenting deal?
My son is 7, so maybe things have changed by now and breastfeeding is incorporated into birthing classes a bit more nowadays. But if it's not? Then you really can't blame moms for throwing in the towel in a matter of weeks. They're already anxious enough with a newborn without throwing any added worry into the mix.
Have you gotten a lot of education on breastfeeding during your pregnancy?
Image via Boy27wonder/Flickr