Many new moms say it can make returning to work hard or find being woken for night feeds gruelling. Picture: Supplied
Many new moms say it can make returning to work hard or find being woken for night feeds gruelling. Picture: Supplied

Could this be the main reason why mothers are giving up breastfeeding?

By VICTORIA ALLEN Time of article published Jun 4, 2020

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London - Mothers who breastfeed for less than six months tend to give up because something goes wrong – rather than for convenience sake, a study suggests.

Only around a third of women breastfeed their baby for the recommended six months.

Many new moms say it can make returning to work hard or find being woken for night feeds gruelling. But research shows these aren’t the main reasons why women give up.

In two-thirds of cases, mothers stopped because they feared they weren’t producing enough milk.

A study found the next most common reasons were that the baby did not latch on or seemed hungry.

Just 8.7 percent of babies were breastfed for less than six months so their mother could go back to work, and only 8.8 percent because women wanted them to sleep longer at night.

Experts say the results show the importance of face-to-face support for breastfeeding problems, or even encouraging texts from mentors.

Dr Katrina Moss, from the University of Queensland, who led the study of 2 888 Australian women, said: "Breastfeeding isn’t best for everyone. If mothers run into problems they may need to supplement or stop. Feeding difficulties can increase the risk of anxiety and depression experienced by up to 20 percent of mothers."

Those in the study were asked how they fed their three youngest children under 13. Almost 1 900 stopped exclusively breastfeeding more than 3 000 children within six months.

From a list of 28 reasons, they only named practical ones such as convenience for less than one in five babies. These reasons were more important for mothers who kept breastfeeding after six months but also used formula milk. But even then convenience and flexibility came second after not being able to provide enough milk.

Among women who said they had never breastfed, in more than a third of cases this was because previous attempts had been unsuccessful.

The figures suggest 34 percent breastfeed exclusively for six months, with almost 21 percent stopping.

More than 40 percent introduced formula milk, solids or both at the same time, according to the study published in the Journal of Human Lactation. Other problems included mastitis, painful nipples and struggling to express milk.

Dr Moss said: "This study highlights the need for personalised support specific to each mother’s situation."

Daily Mail

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