Mother-of-three Mandy Courney went all-natural in feeding her babies, choosing the breast over the bottle.
“We thought it was important for our child’s health. It cuts down on ear aches and there’s a variety of things related to health,” says Courney.
The notion of new moms blissfully breastfeeding their newborns is challenged by new research. It found nursing problems are nearly universal among first-timers. Moms who are having problems are 10 times as likely to call it quits within two months.
“It can be overwhelming to have all that thrown at you at once when the baby is born,” says Dr. Christy Cavanagh, family practitioner with Lee Memorial Health System.
Doctors see a rise in the number of American moms interested in breastfeeding, with more than 75% giving it a try. But only half meet their goals for how long they want to nurse.
“The last 15 years we found more moms at least try to breastfeed initially, but the overall number for moms who breastfeed six months or more hasn’t really changed,” says Dr. Cavanagh.
Breastfeeding issues came down to nine general themes, from uncertainty about medications to stress about the amount of milk produced, the most critical time being the transition from hospital to home. Adding extra support before, during or after can make a world of difference.
“Breastfeeding classes can be very helpful. They’ll cover things about the benefits of breastfeeding, what to expect the first few days, common problems or things to anticipate,” says Dr. Cavanagh.
Even experienced moms like Courney admit, the natural approach, wasn’t second nature.
“I struggled with the first one. I think if you’re going to breastfeed it’s very important to have a lactation nurse available,” says Courney.
The takeaway for successful breastfeeding, is to takeaway the guesswork.