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Two Thirds of New Mothers Do Not Meet Own Breastfeeding Goals

Two Thirds of New Mothers Do Not Meet Own Breastfeeding Goals

A recent study found that two thirds of mothers that said they intended to breastfeed exclusively did not commit to their word.

The study looked at more than 3000, at least 18 years old pregnant women between 2005 and 2007. They were asked to answer questionnaires both before and after giving birth over the course of a year.

The results, published in Pediatrics, suggest that 60% of the participants intended to breastfeed exclusively for a period of no less than a few weeks up to more than 7 months. More than 85% of them also intended to do that for more than 3 months. However, only 32% of the participants achieved that goal as many of them stopped after one month, and about 15% stopped before they left the hospital.

“Infants who were breastfed are less likely to have infections, childhood obesity, type-2 diabetes and sudden infant death syndrome. And all of these benefits extend long the time the child stops breastfeeding” said Cria Perrine, a CDC epidemiologist who led the study.

Breastfeeding is not only good for infants’ healthy, but also for mothers’: “There are both emotional and health benefits for the mother. In terms of emotional, the mother has better bonding experience with the child and is actually less likely to suffer from postpartum depression. As for health benefits, she’s less likely to develop type-2 diabetes and breast cancer” Perrine added

Researchers in the Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) found that there are several factors that affected mothers’ commitment to their breastfeeding goals. Some of these factors are personal, others related to hospital care right after delivery.
Some women were more likely to give up on their breastfeeding goals, particularly mothers who were obese, or smokers. While married or in a relationship mothers were more likely to achieve their goals.

Mothers who breastfed their babies within one hour from delivery and whose babies were kept in the same room and not given a pacifier, were most likely to achieve their breastfeeding goals. Educating mothers on the importance of breastfeeding also contributed to their commitment.

Perrine explained some of the barriers to breastfeeding: “there are a variety of barriers which include both the individual mother as well as societal norms. So a mother may not realize the importance of breastfeeding and culturally breastfeeding is just not as common place, so we’ve sort of created an environment where women are embarrassed to breastfeed in public”

Perrine advises mothers to breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months, that is not to introduce any food or liquid other than her own milk, and to continue breastfeeding through 12 months while introducing new types of food.

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Prepared by: Marcell Shehwaro

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