Earlier this year, researchers in Scotland examined the disjunction between the idealism of exclusive breastfeeding and the truth that lots of families experience. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the very first 6 months of life for several babies. Other organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that most babies consume breast milk for the very first 12 months of life for maximum developmental and immune benefits. In line with the Scottish study, nearly all women find these goals unrealistic, regardless of the known long-term advantages of breastfeeding for both mom and baby.
Breastfeeding can reduce the incidence of diabetes, asthma, obesity, ear infections, upper respiratory infections, and SIDS. In fact, the World Health Organization has been quoted to call colostrum-the breast milk that the mother makes in the very first few days after an infant is born-“baby’s first immunization” because of the immunological benefits so it confers to newborns. In line with the authors of Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, “exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months by 90% of U.S. mothers could prevent 911 infant deaths and save the U.S. healthcare system US$13 billion.” Research in addition has shown that babies who have been breastfed excel in speech and language development and have higher IQ levels. Breastfeeding also provides myriad health benefits for mothers as well-there is really a significantly lower incidence of aggressive breast cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, ovarian cancer, and diabetes in women who have breastfed.
In case a mother and her infant have so much to get from breastfeeding, why are exclusive breastfeeding rates at 6 months postpartum only at 15% in the U.S., based on the CDC? Despite much promotion of the advantages and joys of breastfeeding, these low rates are most likely because of lack of support within in the infrastructure of the healthcare system and in our communities at large. In fact, the mothers interviewed in the Scottish study stated that the lack of support from healthcare providers, household members and friends contributed for their decision to prevent breastfeeding before their baby was 6 months old.
The unfortunate reality is, not all healthcare professionals fully support breastfeeding and what’s more-not all healthcare professionals are knowledgeable or skilled in providing breastfeeding support and counseling during nursing challenges. Many women receive some education in breastfeeding prenatally say, throughout a childbirth education class, however get hardly any continued counseling during the postpartum. Furthermore, the women in the research are right if they said that lots of healthcare providers paint a rosy picture of breastfeeding, choosing simply to speak of the beautiful bonding experience that the mother-baby nursing dyad has during breastfeeding or the future health benefits. 授乳後の胸 Too little people actually speak about the common challenges and pitfalls that the woman may face while establishing breastfeeding out of concern with discouraging new mothers from getting started. Ultimately, however, the women that are challenged by obtaining a good latch, sore nipples, pumping at work, or getting chided in public areas while nursing often feel blindsided by these challenges or feel guilty about not achieving the “ideal picture” of a breastfeeding mother. These are but a some of the challenges that breastfeeding mothers may face.
To express that lots of women aren’t having the support they need from their communities to carry on exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months postpartum would be an understatement. While some companies support breastfeeding by having on-site lactation consultants, clean places for expressing breast milk, and on-site day care centers, many employers still do not need good systems in position to support a mother who needs to express her milk every few hours to keep up her milk supply for her growing baby. Even though that lots of states have laws that protect a woman’s right to express milk in a clean place other than a bathroom-for as much as 3 years after the birth of these baby-some women are asked to pump in the tiny stall of the organization bathroom. Others struggle to obtain the break time that they need to express milk every few hours to prevent engorgement which can lead to a breast infection.
Breastfeeding mothers have now been escorted away from airplanes, asked to leave restaurants and courtrooms, and shuffled into dressing rooms of major shops while breastfeeding their infant. The reason why cited? Some members of people find breastfeeding lewd, offensive or inappropriate. In Maine, the law states “a mother has the proper to breastfeed in any location, whether public or private, provided that she’s otherwise authorized to stay that location.” Raised public awareness of the rights of nursing mothers is greatly needed seriously to encourage mothers to carry on breastfeeding and maximize the health benefits for her and her baby.
So where do we go from here? First we have to change the cultural attitudes around breastfeeding in the U.S. Breastfeeding our babies is just how that nature created for us to nourish and nurture our offspring. There are often several key moments in the very first 6 months of a baby’s life where mothers are faced with the decision to persevere through the nursing challenges or to change to formula or exclusively feeding solid foods. However, more support from knowledgeable, skilled healthcare providers who start using a non-judgmental method of counseling that extends beyond the very first 6 weeks postpartum is paramount over these critical times. Let’s be open and honest about the realities of breastfeeding-which could be hard and frustrating occasionally and beautifully transcendent at other time. By supporting each other, we are able to chip away at the goal of exclusively breastfeeding for the very first 6 months of life everyday, one feeding at a time.