Good Luck Breastfeeding Your Baby; You're Going to Need It

baby drinking bottleIf you're pregnant and planning to breastfeed for at least the recommended six months, good for you. You're probably not going to make it, but good for you for thinking you will anyway.

That's the harsh-but-true reality according to a discouraging new report about breastfeeding. It found that while more than 85 percent of women say they intend to breastfeed for three months or longer, only 32.4 percent actually do. Basically, researchers found that the road to a formula-fed baby is paved with good breastfeeding intentions.

Furthermore, the study found that moms who are obese, are smokers, or had the longest breastfeeding goals were the least likely to succeed. Single moms were also found to meet their goals less frequently than women in committed relationships.

Overall, the numbers are pretty depressing, and, unfortunately, I understand all too well how one can fall short of her breastfeeding goals. I too had great intentions of breastfeeding my children for the first year, but I didn't make it more than a few weeks without supplementing with formula and another month or two before I gave up altogether.

My son was a different story as he was a 27-week preemie and wasn't able to breastfeed in the beginning, which presented problems later. I pumped as long as I could. With my full-term daughter, however, breastfeeding was just too hard for a number of reasons. The bottom line is that it wasn't working for us. I regret now that I didn't try harder, and looking back I wish I'd been more prepared and more determined to stick it out.

I don't think this study should be used by those of us who failed to meet our goals to beat ourselves up, nor do I believe that formula is the devil. We do, however, know that breast milk is best for our babies if we can provide it, and this study is a harsh reality check for women as to the odds we're up against and how difficult it really can be, especially when we're not well prepared and don't have adequate support.

So how can a mom better succeed at her breastfeeding goals? WebMD provides a list of tips that can improve a woman's chance at meeting her breastfeeding goals. It includes things like:

Start breastfeeding right away. Breastfeeding in the first hour after birth can have a long-term impact on success.

Don't swaddle right away. Skin-to-skin contact is best.

Ask for help. This is the MOST important one as far as I'm concerned. For many women, breastfeeding is not as easy and idyllic as it's made out to be, and there are people who can and will help, but not if you don't ask.

Did you meet your breastfeeding goals? What do you feel like got in the way if you didn't?


Image via Jerry Bunkers/Flickr

baby prep, breastfeeding 101


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the4m... the4mutts

I did with all but my youngest. He was lactose intolarant/allergic. Never really got down to the bottom of it, as I was too concerned with him actually eating, and thriving. And, he can drink milk/eat milk products now, in moderation. Too much and he gets the runs.

But I met my 6 month goal with the others.

randh... randhferedinos

It helped that I gave myself no other options. Breastfeeding was ridiculously difficult and I struggled with every new phase, thrush, mastitis, and massive oversupply. In my mind there wasn't any other way to feed my baby, so I made it work.

randh... randhferedinos

Oh and I did meet my goals, minimum of 2 years. My son nursed to 3 1/2 and weaned himself :) my daughter just turned two and is still nursing.

bella... bella_grace

It seems like once you start supplementing, the chance of making it goes down. A bottle is too much easier for a newborn. Moms get too scared they aren't giving their baby enough and don't understand how their body is doing exactly what a baby needs. Nurse, nurse, nurse, and nurse some more! Let your body do it's job and it will get easier. Just give it time!

Katsa... Katsandkids

I planned to nurse as long as possible my 1st self weaned at 18 months 2nd is 21 months and still nursing 3rd is 7 months and still nursing

cassi... cassie_kellison

I never have a goal time saying 6mo at least. I just want to feed him until he has teeth!! I don't have a problem with pumping and giving breastmilk through the bottle. With my first son my milk didn't come in as good as it is with the second. With my first my milk dried up at four months, the Dr said it was stress due to my husband being deployed. With my 2nd I hope to go 6months but I wont stress if I don't go that long.

Evaly... EvalynCarnate

What does being overweight have to do with anything, I wonder? I tried for weeks to get my daughter to BF, but I just never made any milk....Unfortunately the doctor I had at the time wasnt very enlightening as to why this was, but with the second baby arriving in just a couple months, I do intend on trying once more but if I cant I certainly am not going to beat myself up over it.

nonmember avatar Momofthree

I did make my goals w the first two and currently on the way to that goal with baby #3. the first full year is the goal. With the first I nursed 14months, the second 12months and were almost to month 4 with the third. I never thought of formula once and have not supplemented not nursing was never an option for me. It hasn't always been easy but it's been worth it. With my current son honestly it's been insanely hard he had severe latch problems so we had to use a shield just now are we almost done using it. Plus ive had mastitis three times already! Giving up is not an option though.

I think too many women are uncomfortable with it and don't stick to it long enough for it to become comfortable. There is a learning curve for baby and mom. Not many seek help or are well educated on it to know what's going on or to tell a pushy nurse/relative no formula and so on. Plus in the united states the maternity leave sucks! I took 12 wks but many only get 6 wks. It Took every bit of 6 wks to get comfortable brainy the first time. Many employers don't allow ample time and space for pumping. So it's easy to see why most babies are on formula these days. So many things working against nursing moms... It's sad.

Anna Potts

i did still strong at 9 months and counting but im one of the few 21 year old sahm! easy i couldnt imagine making all those bottles let alone buying them, plus i lost all prego weight and more!


Tracey Plummer

Bella Grace,

I get where you are coming from, but sometimes it just doesn't work, so telling people to just give it time can be dangerous for the baby. My body barely produced any milk, and I was almost dried up by six weeks. I had to start supplementing with bottles at three weeks because she just wasn't getting enough sustenance. My gyno, the la leche league, and everyone else I went to for help agreed. Sometimes you just have to supplement with a bottle and some people just don't produce much milk. So, unfortunately, it doesn't always get easier, even with time.

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