Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mothers Find Breastfeeding Recommendations "Unrealistic"

Let's face it, for most mothers breastfeeding is no walk in the park. Hoping for the baby to latch correctly, enduring mastitis, stressing about your supply - there are so many factors that can quickly ruin the breastfeeding relationship. Recent survey results reveal that a large group of mothers believe that the World Health Organization's recommendation to exclusively breastfeed for at least six months is unrealistic.

In fact, many women feel like the recommendations are setting them up to fail. Experts from the University of Aberdeen and the University of Stirling surveyed 36 women, 26 partners, eight maternal grandmothers, one sister and two health professionals. They completed 220 interviews total. They discovered that although health organizations emphasize the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for six months, hospital practices actually tend to discourage it. There were many reasons that new mothers quit breastfeeding exclusively, such as wanting other family members to share the bonding experience. Many new mothers found expressing milk difficult or distasteful, and many had trouble breastfeeding in public. Some families felt naturally inclined to feed their baby solids before six months of age.

The authors concluded that more support is needed directly after birth and that breastfeeding goals should be presented in smaller steps. They stated in their paper:
"Adopting idealistic global policy goals like exclusive breastfeeding until six months as individual goals for women is unhelpful. More achievable incremental goals are recommended. Unanimously, families would prefer the balance to shift away from antenatal theory towards more help immediately after birth and at three to four months when solids are being considered."
Did you find exclusive breastfeeding for six months unrealistic? 

Breastfeeding advice 'unrealistic' [Google]
Photo Credit: Anton Nossik