September 13th, 2010
04:26 PM ET

CDC: Many moms start breastfeeding, but drop off

Moms are encouraged to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months after they give birth, but how many actually follow that advice?

It turns out that 75 percent babies start breastfeeding, but only 43 percent are still being breastfed at 6 months of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card. Even fewer are exclusively breastfed: At age 3 months 33 percent receive breast milk and no other foods or liquids. This is true for 13 percent of babies at age 6 months. 

Since 2005, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended "exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child," because some studies suggest breastfeeding may protect babies against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), diabetes, obesity and asthma among others and can help reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer for the moms.

The numbers are based on children born in 2007. The numbers of babies being breastfed at age 6 months (1.8 million) and 12 months (fewer than 1 million), as well as the numbers of babies exclusively breastfed, are about the same for the third consecutive year.

Utah had the highest rate of babies who had begun breastfeeding, at 90 percent. Mississippi had the lowest, at 52.5 percent.

When it comes to following the six-month rule, Oregon leads the pack with more than 60 percent of babies; Louisiana was last at 20 percent.

An April study in Pediatrics found that nearly 1,000 preventable deaths occur in the U.S. each year because of failure to follow breastfeeding recommendations. Breastfeeding in the first six months of life, as recommended, would save the country $13 billion annually, the study said.

Also, researchers from the Netherlands reported in Pediatrics in June that these breastfeeding recommendations can reduce baby's risk of serious lung and intestinal infections.

Worldwide, breastfeeding for the first six months could stop more than one million child deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Nursing mothers will get support in the health care legislation that President Obama signed this year. That law says that, with the exception of companies with less than 50 employees, employers must provide a space where women can express milk.

soundoff (277 Responses)
  1. Haaja

    OK. Time to lighten up the thread. Took me 8 years to conceive my first son and another 4 after that to conceive my second son. But as soon as both boys were born, my milk wouldn't stop. Go figure. I breastfed my first for a year. The first 3 months were on demand and when I went back to work, I pumped twice a day (in the bathroom stall). After a year, my firstborn just wasn't interested in momma's milk anymore. Then came my second son, who I fondly call "Momma's booby boy." He was ravenous the moment he was born. I nursed him for 3 years as he wouldn't have it any other way! And as time wore on, my milk adjusted to his demands and my work schedule, so that I nursed him in the morning and by the end of the day, when I'd come home from work, I'd be ready to nurse again. I pumped at night to replenish my supplies while I was at work during the day! Not quite sure how that happened but hey, the little guy was very happy and I didn't have to pump in some friggin' bathroom stall. Then I got a serious inner ear infection when second son was a bit over 3 years old. All attempts to eradicate the infection failed and my MD told me I'd have to take a medicine that would mean the end of my nursing. When I described my ravenous booby boy to the MD, he said to blame him when I broke the bad news. So, on that fateful day, I sat second son down and explained to him that mommy couldn't give him breast milk anymore. And I chickened out and told him the doctor told me to tell him he had to stop. Booby boy immediately stood up and demanded to meet this "doctor" who was taking away mommy's boobs. He was pissed off and remembers that day even now that he's 9 years old. To this day, second son still doesn't like my doctor. Lighten up folks. Listen to your body, follow your child's cues and if it works, great. If nursing doesn't work, move on. There are plenty of guilt issues to deal with as our children (quickly) get older.

    September 13, 2010 at 23:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Get over yourselves

    Ladies: Do what is best for you and your family, and ignore all the busy-bodies. I cannot believe how absurd it is for women to be so judgmental about what another woman does with her breasts. Is formula really so awful for babies? How about you band together and save your wrath for women who ACTUALLY abuse their children, and let this ridiculous argument rest once and for all. Honestly, IT IS NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS! Have an opinion, fine, but name-calling and laying on the guilt is NOT going to help a new mom. How about supporting your fellow mommies for a change instead of being so sanctimonious.

    September 13, 2010 at 23:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alison

      "Is formula really so awful for babies?"

      When 1000 American babies die per year because they were not breastfed, then yes, I think you could say that it's awful.

      It's not about what women do with their breasts. It's how a mother chooses to feed her infant. It should not be a lifestyle choice. It is a health concern. Are there women who truly cannot breastfeed, for many different reasons? Of course, and thank goodness there is formula for such cases. But it is nearly 100% of the time healthier for a baby to be fed breastmilk. That's a fact.

      It IS my business because I care about babies' health. That must make me some kind of horrible person, to try to encourage a new mother to breastfeed. I would never and have never judged a mother for how she feeds her baby, and I certainly would never try to make someone feel guilty. But the formula nazis do a greater disservice than any breastfeeding advocate by pushing formula and using the illogical argument "I was formula-fed and I turned out fine". Why does support only refer to giving a baby inferior nutrition?

      September 13, 2010 at 23:59 | Report abuse |
    • Angelique

      The anger stems from the fact, (the FACT), that women continually give up so easily because most of the time people PUSH them to do so by saying things like "I fed all mine with formula, you don't have to do it!" There are PLENTY of resources to help with breastfeeding.

      What makes me mad isn't the mothers, it's the reality of the present day mentality ingrained in us that disgusts me! You know, there WAS a time when formula didn't exist! It's as though we are completely oblivious to the fact that this was the way the human race fed their children for thousands of years. Maybe if we were able to see that SIMPLE fact, we'd realize that there IS a way to make it work – barring the RARE circumstance where it truly is impossible. We've lost all touch with what is REAL here on EARTH.

      September 14, 2010 at 00:04 | Report abuse |
    • MDmomx5

      It is a public health issue. My tax dollars are paying for formula bought by WIC & I am paying higher health premiums because there are women who actively choose a substandard way of feeding their children. And as for the whole "guilt" issue I say get over YOURSELF. Nobody can make you feel guilty but you. If a mom makes the best choice she could with the information she was given in her set of circumstance she has nothing to feel guilty about.

      September 14, 2010 at 00:10 | Report abuse |
    • SickOfIt

      Wouldn't it be great if everyone worried about how best to raise their OWN children and stayed out of everyone else's business.

      September 14, 2010 at 00:32 | Report abuse |
  3. Charity

    I breastfed both my children. My son didn't latch until he was 6 weeks old so I pumped and bottle fed for those first weeks. That was really exhausting but I was happy and proud to know that I was giving my son the best possible milk. He nursed until he was 6 months old. When my daughter was born she spent her first ten days in the newborn intensive care because she couldn't breathe on her own. I pumped and took milk in to the hospital so they could bottle feed her. She had no trouble latching and is still nursing strongly at 17 months. It has been the best experience in the world. I have found it interesting that when my daughter is upset or when I am upset-we seek each other out, many times unaware of what the other is feeling but desirous to comfort each other. I attribute that to the bond we have formed by breastfeeding. I wish all mothers could have such fulfilling experiences with breastfeeding!!

    September 13, 2010 at 23:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • chucklhed

      Good for you! I totally get that bond you're talking about. There is nothing more comforting to a child than to nurse. I've been nursing my second child through my third pregnancy and while it has been painful at times, and my milk dried up for a few months, he sought and continues to seek me out when he feels tired, or sad or just wants the reassurance that mommy is here. I feel blessed to have been able to stick with it...even through a pregnancy...and then they'll have to share for a little while till I can wean my 2yr old! :o)

      September 13, 2010 at 23:39 | Report abuse |
  4. Nursed4two

    Breastfeeding is mental and unfortunately, a lot of mothers do not receive the support needed to continue nursing. I have heard ridiculous comments such as the sagging breasts, but it just doesn't compare to the child's needs. I have experienced a lot in my quest to nurse and when I had to take medication, I didn't stop...I just pumped and dumped until it was flushed from my system. The problem is a lot of moms are not provided the support (and sometimes the lack of support is from the pediatrician) and other times, the mom just gives up. (It is EXHAUSTING, but I told myself that it was only for a short time.) This is not directed at those that really try, but I have heard the most ridiculous reasons.

    My child was consistently off the charts when I went for the checkups and that is when I realized that the charts are for formula fed babies!

    September 13, 2010 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. chucklhed

    I'm appalled by these numbers. I exclusively nursed both my kids for 6 months, introduced solids and continued to nurse them till they were two! I plan on doing the same with my third. This issue of "discomfort" with nursing has got to go away in this country! Our children are truly suffering because of it! There are so many illnesses that can be prevented if as mothers we nurse for as long as we possibly can. Women should take pride in the gift and ability we've been given to sustain and nourish human life with the most perfect irreplaceable and non replicable breastmilk. No formula on EARTH comes remotely close! It's also time for medical professionals to get on board and encourage and educate pregnant mothers to do the right thing instead of pushing tons of free formula samples down their throats!

    September 13, 2010 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Fish

    I was lucky enough to breast feed my baby past the 12 month mark – first 6 months exclusively. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears. It was a struggle to get started and a struggle after I went back to work full-time. I went to a lactation consultant when things got rough and had support through a mommy's group and friends at work. It was difficult to find a place to pump at the office as we work in cubicles. I had to get creative and pumped in meeting rooms, the storage closet and sometimes in my car. When I thought my supply was low I spent weekends pumping extra to increase my supply. It was worth it! I loved the bonding time with my baby and knowing that I gave him the best start possible.

    September 13, 2010 at 23:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Babynurse

    Bottom line is, women either want to breastfeed or they don't. Whatever the reasons, it's a personal choice, and they get to make it. I, personally, had no difficulty breastfeeding both of my daughters for several months without ever having to supplement. But I can tell you, I was fortunate. As a nurse who works postpartum, I see firsthand that it is not always so easy for everyone else. Some babies don't want to latch, and some women just don't produce enough. It's a fact. And every lactation consultant on our floor would agree with me. We do support breastfeeding, but circumstances aren't always perfect. And again, it's a choice.

    September 13, 2010 at 23:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alison

      What choice do you think the baby would make?

      If you are seeing postpartum women, it is unlikely you would know that they were truly unable to produce milk, as most women's milk doesn't come in until after discharge. But I bet you and your not-certified "lactation consultant" colleagues are right there, pushing a bottle of formula, undermining the mother's breastfeeding intentions from the get-go, instead of reassuring the mother that colostrum is all a newborn's stomach needs until the mature milk comes in, and that most babies don't need supplementation because that's how the human body is designed.

      September 14, 2010 at 00:04 | Report abuse |
    • SickOfIt

      Alison, do you have an M.D. behind your name?

      September 14, 2010 at 00:40 | Report abuse |
    • Alison

      No MD, but does it matter? Many breastfeeding women know more about lactation than most MDs. I am well-educated on the topic, have 3.5 years of breastfeeding experience, and know that health care professionals, no matter how well-meaning, often sabotage a new mother's breastfeeding efforts by handing out breastfeeding myths as easily as those formula bags in the hospital.

      September 14, 2010 at 01:39 | Report abuse |

      @Alison. 3.5 years of brestfeeding experince. Let me guess thats the total time you breastfeed your children. If you had any medical education you would know that just becuase it worked for you does not mean that it will work for everyone else. I also love your thinking. You know that the human body is designed to fight off infections and sickness. But I would bet you take your children and yourself to see a doctor when your sick and you take antibiotics that they give you. Can anyone say double standards.

      September 14, 2010 at 09:42 | Report abuse |
    • olive dougherty

      Alison did not say anything about whether women should breastfeed and the things she said were facts that long-time breastfeeding mothers seem to know better than hospital personnel. The "lactation consultants" I met during my numerous maternity stays in hospitals were not nearly as knowledgeable as I was about nursing- which seemed ridiculous to me, too- but still true.

      September 20, 2010 at 22:39 | Report abuse |
    • olive dougherty

      Allison said nothing about whether anyone should breastfeed. What she said is that you and your colleagues know considerably less than we do about the topic being discussed here- breastfeeding. If you didn't know that milk usually doesn't come in until after mothers leave the hospital, you must be very ignorant concerning this entire topic.

      September 20, 2010 at 22:42 | Report abuse |
  8. Nursed4two

    @Chucklhed...I agree!! As SOON as my baby was born, I told all of the nurses that I am going to breastfeed, so DON'T give her anything. I was forewarned that sometimes the baby will receive formula at birth, so I made my wishes very clear because I knew the colostrum was the best thing for my baby. Luckily for me, my mom breastfed, but my friends didn't have a clue when they decided to breastfeed. My first baby was 2 lbs. and I was told that she was too small to eat, but I started pumping round the clock and they fed that to her via tube. It definitely pays to be educated!!

    September 14, 2010 at 00:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alison

      Good for you!! I also pumped for my two preemies before they were strong enough to nurse. It wasn't easy, but it was well worth it.

      September 14, 2010 at 00:05 | Report abuse |
  9. Kelcy

    When I breastfed my first two it was inordinately painful.... like bringing tears to the eyes each time they latched on. Even if they had not finally weened themselves after six weeks or so I would likely have stopped. I only kept at it despite the pain because we were being told "it is what you should do, it is best for the baby" and so forth. Not when it is that painful. With the last one I had problems with the letdown reflex so my child was not getting any milk and was developing jaundice. The doctor would not believe me when I said there was something wrong. Consequently he went directly to formula the day the doctor said he had jaundice. However, had I had the same pain then I would not have kept at it. From a work perspective it would not have lasted long either. When you are a mid-level manager with meetings not set by you it just becomes impossible. BTW.... I suspect the letdown problem was that my thyroid went south with that pregnancy.

    Stop with the guilt trip on women..... especially coming from other women.

    September 14, 2010 at 00:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Eva

    Central European countries provide between 6 months and 2 YEARS of government-paid maternity leave, and these countries' economies are doing just fine. At a minimum, every new mother should have the opportunity to stay home with her baby until the baby is 6 months old – not just to allow full breast feeding, but also to allow for mother-infant bonding and the development of secure attachment and feeling of security and stability in the baby. This would produce much better-adjusted children and would save a lot of money down the road.

    September 14, 2010 at 00:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Melissa

      Eva, I have to agree and disagree with you. I agree that every mother should spend at least 6 months at home bonding with their child but in no way do I believe that the government should support this. As adults and moreover- women, we have 9 months at the very least to set aside money- whether it's in savings, stocks, etc.- to afford us the luxury of staying home with our children. I do not want my tax dollars to go up because someone that got pregnant wasn't smart enough to plan. Unfortunately that's called welfare and there's already an abundance of mother's and families taking advantage (deserved or not) of it.

      I started saving when my husband and I began talking about having children and I managed to save enough money so that I could stay home for 6 months. And before I get comments about how wealthy I have to be to do that let me tell you that my income for the year my son was born was $27000 and my husband's was slightly higher.

      September 14, 2010 at 05:48 | Report abuse |

      Why are you comparing us to central europe? Yeah it sure looks nice to get all the time off but we should look at the facts. The european union in a much worse financial downturn than us. The country of Greece was almost bankrupt (as a result of their goverment) and had to be bailed out by the other european countries. Also the commodities over there are way more expensive than they are here. Example being gas. Another example is that people who live in europe pay more in taxes than we do. So you can go ahead and more over to europe if you would like but I doubt that you would make it over there.

      September 14, 2010 at 09:50 | Report abuse |
  11. SickOfIt

    I'm sick of all the moms who don't have careers or interests aside from being a mommy trying to make those of us who enjoy life when we're with our children and when we're apart from them feel guilty about our choices. I tried to nurse my daughter, but didn't have any milk, so we gave her formula. Now, she started kindergarten, can read, and do basic arithmetic; not too bad for a 4 year old. I love my work and I love my child, and you don't have to lose your identity to be a mother. Also, as an aside, I'm a professor of biology, so knowing a "little" about the subject, none of the studies suggesting that nursing prevents SIDS are conclusive (in general, the whole reason why it is called sudden infant death syndrome is because it's a collection of conditions and we don't know much about their etiology). Everyone is entitled to their own choices, I don't complain when you breastfeed in front of me, and you should let me decide how I want to care for my child; there are far worse things in life than formula.

    September 14, 2010 at 00:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. NewMama

    Well, when your baby spends the first 2 weeks of life in the NICU and you have to pump it makes things difficult if not impossible. I pumped but never got much and my baby refused to nurse because it was too much trouble. It was my dream to breastfeed but it just didn't happen – people question why I bottle feed but it's none of their darn business. Nobody knows the heartache of not being able to feed your child or your child not wanting to feed – it makes you feel like a failure – I don't need some self-righteous do-gooder making me feel even worse.

    September 14, 2010 at 00:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. scrumbugulous

    They need a tighter grip.
    Maybe if the mom's gave them more support...

    September 14, 2010 at 00:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Nursed4two

    @Alison...you are right. It is a choice and when you are determined, it becomes whatever you make it. My child was in the NICU for 60 days...I pumped every two-three hours because I was told to mimic the baby nursing. The hospital was one hour away each way, I did not have the support of the father, I was EXHAUSTED from driving back and forth every day and working, I was in so much pain when I started nursing...I was screaming (and I'm sure I scared every mother that wanted to do it...LOL), BUT I made up my mind that no matter what, it was my choice. It was HARD and I do think SOME moms give up too easily!!

    My lactation consultant told me that it shouldn't hurt and if it does, the baby is not latched on properly and when she showed me the correct way, it was a BREEZE! So education is important. When I developed mastitis, I was crying, but I continued. I say that to say that when your mind is made up on something, you find a way. It was so hard on me then, but I wouldn't change a thing.

    September 14, 2010 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Mel

    I am very creeped out by the person who claimed his wife breastfed into 3 years. That is just weird.

    Also, I'm really sad to see how much crap mothers have to go through, like it's not hard enough raising a child in this society, and they have to be guilt tripped if their milk doesn't come or their child doesn't latch or they're on serious drugs that should not be passed to the child. Like any other issue, nobody seems to see the issue without hysteria. Yes, breast feeding is great. No, it is not always an option. Stop making people feel guilty for what can ultimately not even be a choice, or it IS their choice, just liking CHOOSING to have the baby. We have that, you know - CHOICE. And if society (our jobs, money, etc) allowed women to feed and pump without problems, I bet you the % of us who do it would double. But instead- finger point at the mom's instead of the laws because that is what unempowered, unintelligent people do.

    September 14, 2010 at 00:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Nursed4two

    Actually, my comment is not to "guilt trip" mothers, but to emphasize that MANY mothers are not informed with breastfeeding. You are told because it is natural, the baby will automatically latch on and that is not always the case. when I started my milk was so low, I wondered if it would ever come, but I had my mom and the assistance of a lactation consultant who told me that it was normal. So before you speak, please re-read my posts. I SPECIFICALLY said women need help and to be educated, period.

    September 14, 2010 at 01:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. K

    Very interesting exchange. I am a mother of 7 and have learned so much over the years. I used to beat myself up alot for giving formula to my first two children. I knew breast was best but I honestly didn't know how to make it work nor did I know where to find the support. Despite the fact that it's out there, sometimes the support is just not accessible for people. Now, the internet was just getting started when I became a mom so I imagine that now there might be better ways to find info and support. I am a very shy person so even making the phone call for help was a huge task for me. I grew up under the idea that certain things were shameful and that was also hard to get over at the time. I think maturity has change alot of that in me. But hind sight tells me that while this decision is an important one, we make so many more than they will fall as our children get older. And a child's health can be turned around for the better if it turns out that formula did somehow hurt the baby. Bonding that might have been lost can also reversed. I can attest to that, as my 11 yod and I have the best relationship now. I do encourage all moms to consider breastfeeding. Give baby what you can and if it's necessary to wean to formula, be free to do so. Don't feel guilty and don't allow others to make you feel guilty. For those that are able to successfully breastfeed, be encouraging and support of those that don't. You never know when your encouragement to try again (if possible) might actually cause a mom to really try to make it work next time. I finally did with my 3rd baby and now successfully breastfed 5 babies. Enjoy those babies in anyway you can because they grow so very fast. And don't place so much emphasis on food.

    September 14, 2010 at 01:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Theresa

    I bottle fed all four of my kids (now ages 16-28) because I WANTED to. There was NO way I could have done the middle of the night feedings (mine all slept through the night between 5 and 8 weeks old). I just couldn't do it. Didn't want to. Wanted to keep MY identity as ME, not just a mom. I think way too many people are reading way too much into "parenting" these days – and yet the kids aren't healthier, or smarter, or happier. (Parenting wasn't even a verb when I had my first one). My kids are all smart and successful, and not overweight at all. Except for my first (which was a whole other issue with the doctor) none even had ear infections. This is a CHOICE – and mine is just as vaid as anyone else's. You cannot say – or prove – that any "benefit" from nursing carries over – especially if the ones nursing are eating all kinds of crap (preservatives and so on). I'm healthy, my kids are healthy, and more important – I was HAPPY – not in pain or exhausted – when my kids were little.

    September 14, 2010 at 01:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Jen

    I nursed both of my daughters for over a year and I feel so lucky to be Canadian because I had a one year maternity leave with each and I think that made a huge difference. You have to plan financially because government maternity leave only pays 55% of your income but it's doable especially when you factor in childcare costs (and I live in Vancouver which is incredibly expensive to live in). I feel really bad for moms in the states because I can not imagine going back to work when your baby is so young and I'm impressed that so many moms pump at work. I probably wouldn't have lasted 6 months if I had to go back to work and pump, that's a huge commitment.

    September 14, 2010 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. KL

    I am so tired of the media and especially other women telling me what is best for me and my children. Did I want breastfeeding to work out? Yes. Did it? No. Every time I read comments like the majority of this thread I get sick to my stomach. I think women, especially mothers, try the best they can to do what they feel is right. For other women to tell them that their actions are wrong or that they will harm their children is idiotic. The majority of this thread is of women who sound like they want to receive some medal of honor for breastfeeding, "I breastfed for 2 years", "it sucked but I did it because I love my baby". Yeah, because women who don't breastfeed don't love their children. Thanks for the support. I have a friend who has a baby the same age as mine. She was over one day and it was time for us both to feed our babies. We both started breastfeeding, she was done within minutes. I breastfed, then bottle fed two ounces of expressed milk and then finished off with formula. The whole process took over an hour. My friend almost started crying for me because she saw how hard it was for me and how easy it was for her. What I am trying to say is stop judging women who don't breastfeed because it's usually not by choice. If you can breastfeed for six months or longer, good for you. But get off your high horse and have some empathy for those who try their best but don't succeed.

    September 14, 2010 at 01:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe B.

      I agree. I think people forget that "it takes a village" includes breast feeding. If you can't produce enough milk by yourself, you are supposed to hand your kid off to your friend so she can top him off. Or hire a wet nurse. Of course, due to sanitary reasons and social awkwardness, no one does that today. They just use formula, which is designed for infants and is disease-free.

      September 14, 2010 at 10:40 | Report abuse |
  21. fdm

    Good grief! Women on this forum can be so critical of one another. Not breastfeeding for 3, 6, 9, or 12 months is NOT because they "aren't fully committed enough" or "whine that it is too difficult." Some women don't like breastfeeding, period. Get used to it. Some women want to breastfeed longer, but their workplace setting isn't conducive to pumping. Some babies don't take well to a breast, can't get enough nutrition through breast milk, or need formula feeding. THANK GOD we live in a era where there is formula for babies to get nutrition they need if they can't get it through breast milk. Formula isn't poison. It's nutrition, just like breast milk. And if a baby is formula-fed, and it's not YOUR baby, it's none of you business. To all mom's out there – your choice is your own, power to you for whatever you decide. If you chose breast-feeding, hopefully your workplace or whatever place you are will support that.

    September 14, 2010 at 02:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. pv

    my son did not latch despite several lactation consultant visits. i ended up pumping 5 times a day for 15 months and he was on BM exclusively for 18 months thanks to my frozen stash. yes it was easy for me to pump 5 times a day because i worked from home but boy it was sure troublesome. but I did it for my kid. infact, due to my oversupply, I was able to donate my extra milk to 3 different babies over the course of 15 months. if I had to go to work, I pumped there twice a day. thankfully california mandates that companies provide a safe, lockable room (my company had a storage room with a sofa and a fridge) and i was able to use it. had it not been for the work from home option though, i doubt I would have been able to keep it up for that long.

    September 14, 2010 at 03:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. anne

    I think doctors are the number one killer of breast feeding. With my first baby, he told me she was too fat so I was to stop the night feeding. Of course, my milk dried up not to mention she screamed all night from hunger. My second baby, he said she was too thin and I had to supplement with formula. Of course, my milk dried up. This was twenty three years ago and I HOPE mothers and doctors are more knowledgable now. I'm sure my pediatrician had no experience with breast fed babies then and I had no one to talk to about it because most babies then were formula fed.

    September 14, 2010 at 07:17 | Report abuse | Reply

      Yeah way to blame the doctor and not your self. Thats so typical. Have you ever heard of PUMPING. Youcould have pumped at night but instead you chose to sleep. So eveyone lets blame the doctor because i wanted more sleep.

      September 14, 2010 at 09:58 | Report abuse |
    • anne

      medical proffesional you didnt read my post very well before jumping down my throat. 23 years ago my doctor knew nothing about breast feeding. I did buy a breast pump ( only manual at that time) and he couldn't even tell me how to use it properly. No one seemed to know anything and no computers to look things up then. And how was I selfishly sleeping, as you claim, when my daughter was screaming all night? Times have changed and now doctors know all about breast feeding but back then I was alone and clueless. I just did what I was told...but it was the wrong advice.

      September 14, 2010 at 10:22 | Report abuse |
  24. mjd


    Samantha, 2-5 times more formula-fed babies die of SIDS than breastfed ones. Formula-fed preemies are far more likely to suffer necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and die from it than breastfed ones. Childhood cancers are far more likely in formula-fed children than breastfed ones.

    HHmm! Interesting! I wasn't breastfed so I guess I'm dead. Or at least dying of cancer. Get over yourselves! If a woman doesn't want to breastfeed she shouldn't be "guilted" into it

    September 14, 2010 at 08:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. lisa

    17 years ago I had my first child. Breast feeding was not the norm in my area. I had no where to express milk at work & it sucked. I went to my childrens daycare everyday during my lunch hour for 6 months so they could nurse. I think breast feeding is awesome for the baby. I had 3 kids and breast fed the 2 oldest for 6 months and the youngest for 4 months (she weighed 9.8 pounds at birth & I could not keep up with her demands, she needed more food). The two that were breast fed for 6 months have never had an ear infection in their life. I lost every bit of weght gained during pregnancy. I highly recommend it to every new mom. If I could work full time & still breast feed 3 children anyone can!!!!

    September 14, 2010 at 08:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Elizabeth Styles

    Interesting article. Thought you might like!

    Love you,

    September 14, 2010 at 09:09 | Report abuse | Reply

    I cant count all the times people have put "guilted" into breastfeeding on here. Maybe if you had some self esteem and educated yourself you could stand up for yourself. Coming from someone who works in the medical profession and has two children; all it takes if for you to say "it isnt working and I'm not going to starve my child." That would end the conversation pretty fast.

    September 14, 2010 at 09:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. jim

    My wife breast fed our children. She had to stop breastfeeding earlier than she wanted to for our lasr child due to medical reasons. You breast feeding Nazis should have a little empathy. Breast feeding is best, but it may not fit everyone's situation.

    September 14, 2010 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. BD76

    I support anyone who wants to breastfeed their child...I just don't agree that it is the end all beat all of feeding your baby. I have an 8 month old son, and I have used formula since he was born for many reasons. 1) Because of my own dietary restrictions, I don't think he would have gotten all of the nutrients he needed 2) I bond with him just fine when feeding him a bottle, and feeding through a bottle has given my husband that bonding time as well and 3) I don't think that people consider how the food we eat effects the newborns. Think of all of the chemicals and hormones in our food...how is that effecting the breast milk? My son is very healthy and has a strong immune system, not having breastmilk has not effected him negatively in any way. When I take him for his check up, the peditrician says that when he sees a baby, he wants to see them as healthy, happy and strong as my son.
    What I can't stand is people who push breast feeding in your face like it is the only way...it is not.

    September 14, 2010 at 09:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ThinkForYourself

      Amen! So many mothers today do not understand proper nutrition and lack adequate essential vitamins and nutrients, themselves (Vitiamin D, in particular, comes to mind). Others have a diet that consists almost entirely of fast and/or processed foods. Yet everywhere you turn, BF advocates staunchly proclaim that "Breast is Best" - no exceptions. However, in my own personal experience, my husband was raised exclusively on formula and has less health problems and allergies than I do, despite the fact that I was exclusively BF and my mother ate a fairly healthy diet. Formula-feeding right from birth was the right decision for my family and I, and I plan to do the same with my son when he comes along this winter... that way, if I forget to eat an orange one day, I don't have to worry that my son isn't getting enough Vitamin C!

      September 14, 2010 at 09:43 | Report abuse |
    • Anna1228

      Do you honestly think something that is man made is better for your newborn than what he was biologically meant to eat?!? That is just mind boggling. Have you read what is in formula? Do you have any idea that there are over 200 compounds (beneficial I might add) within breast milk that they have been UNable to mimic in formula or that there is a beneficial bacteria found only in the gut of breastfed infants that scientists have come to realize is a product of the evolution by the mother's body to protect her infant from disease?
      Unless you are starving yourself, doing drugs or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol your breastmilk is fine.

      September 14, 2010 at 09:53 | Report abuse |
    • ThinkForYourself

      Anna, you don't realize it, but you have proved my point entirely: BF babies are already getting those man-made foods, courtesy of their mothers' diets! Do you think that Nature intended us to eat Big Macs and Kraft Mac-n-Cheese? No, probably not, but many mothers do and then pass these processed, nutrient-sparse foods through their milk to their kids. I do not, at all, disagree that breast milk contains some beneficial compounds that science is not able to replicate. My argument, however, is that breast milk LACKS other beneficial nutrients that women aren't getting through diet alone and therefore are not able to pass along to their kids. For example, a mother whose diet lacks adequate iron is thus unable to pass adequate amounts of iron onto her child. Additionally, as others have noted, breast milk may also contain many unintended and non-beneficial compounds that have leeched into the mother's diet from plastic containers, pesticides, etc., as well. So, you can't unilaterally say that breast milk is better; there are way too many other variables per each individual mother's diet.

      September 14, 2010 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
  30. Blair

    It is interesting to me that so many mothers that work are so judgmental of mothers that formula feed. Many people think that it is best for a baby to be with its mother, rather than in daycare. Yet you would fight to the death to defend your choice to work while at the same time insulting mothers who formula feed. Maybe people living in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    September 14, 2010 at 09:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Whatever

    Why do mothers that breastfed always seem to take a holy than thou tone? It's almost as if they feel they need to defend thier choice. Whatever. You breastfed, I did not. So what? We all make choices. Even though my three children were brought up on formula and bottles, I used cloth diapers because they felt better against a babys bottom and we good for the environment. Did you?

    September 14, 2010 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Dee

    Support is really important. I'm on month 4 of bf with my 3rd. He got nipple confusion in the hospital that took 2 weeks to correct. They convinced me (I'm still mad about it) to give him formula in the first 24 hours because he was sleepy and hadn't eaten much yet. It was very frustrating when he later wouldn't latch on. I pumped until I decided to take him off bottles and pacifiers. In 5 hours he was nursing regularly. Good thing I had nursed previous babies or I might have given up. I made it to 10 months with my other 2.

    I applaud you working women who manage to pump. I decided that it was too wearing to work and have an infant so I stay home and carefully manage my husband's money the first year. I've always managed part-time work after that. I'm blessed to have a hard working husband. I keep costs down for my family by cooking, cleaning, planning, etc. Breastfeeding is a natural choice for me. I'm glad that babies can survive on formula if need be, but it IS processed food. If at all possible, nurse. I think I did it the first time mostly because of finances, but also because I knew the baby's immunity would be boosted.

    It's sad how people think formula is normal and breastmilk is weird. Good thing my baby is really getting plump because I've already endured dozens of people telling me that I must be starving him since I can't 'see' the actual amount of milk he's getting!

    September 14, 2010 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • olive dougherty

      i think they should do a study on hospital / pediatrician personnel trying to force mothers to give bottles in the first 3-4 days- i think that is a major culprit contributing to people giving up on breastfeeding. it happened to me three times- with three kids.

      September 20, 2010 at 20:48 | Report abuse |
  33. cc

    The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has provided researched information on the benefits of breastfeeding babies. It is a mother's choice to breastfeed or to not breastfeed; however, this type of researched information made available to mothers allows them to make a knowledgeable decision.

    September 14, 2010 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Becks

    I gave birth to very premature, 25-week twins. My daughter died of NEC a week after her birth (despite being given my pumped breast milk), and once my other daughter was able to drink on her own, she refused to breast-feed regularly, probably because she got so used to getting a bottle in the hospital for the 4 months she was there. I pumped 7 times a day for almost 9 months so she could have a diet that consisted of mostly breast milk (although her milk was supplemented in the hospital to help her gain weight). I pumped even after the horrible shock of my daughter's death. I pumped when my mom died of cancer 2 months after I gave birth. I pumped in cars. I pumped in a bathroom at the church where my mom's funeral was held. When my milk supply started to decrease I took Domperidone to try to increase it and drank fenugreek tea until I smelled like curry all the time. When I wasn't able to pump enough milk to feed her increasing appetite I supplemented with formula. I know how important breast milk is to premature babies with respect to their immune system and IQ (while this breast milk-IQ link may be questionable with term babies, preemies given breast milk have been shown to have a significantly higher IQ than those given formula – there are numerous studies that support this). After having had such a miserable start to life, I wanted my baby to have every opportunity to be as healthy as she could be. Today she is a happy, fat, healthy, thriving baby. Is this because of my breast milk? I would like to think it contributed a little. Am I bragging a bit about all the pumping I did? Darn right, it totally, totally sucked (no pun intended) but I stuck with it. THAT BEING SAID, I would NEVER condemn a woman for giving her baby formula whether it was necessary or not. I am fortunate to live in Canada where I get a year of paid maternity leave and the school at which I teach gives my the opportunity to take a second year of unpaid leave while guaranteeing my job. I have a very supportive husband, and no other children to take care of. While my daughter was in the hospital, I was given a private room in which to pump as well as containers in which to store my milk and the use of a hospital-grade pump. When she came home from the hospital I was able to afford to rent a pump, buy breast-milk storage bags and have my Domperidone prescription covered by insurance. Given the opportunities I had, pumping was a viable option. Women who have to go back to work 6 weeks after giving birth, who have no place to pump, who don't have a good family support system, who have other children to take care of, who have other financial obligations (while formula isn't cheap, neither is pumping!), or whose babies have a difficult time breast-feeding (it's not always easy!) may find it nearly impossible to breast-feed or pump. I would suggest that in the majority of cases, a woman's decision not to breast feed/pump is a social issue and should be dealt with accordingly – longer maternity leaves and more access to medical support and pumping facilities – otherwise nothing is going to change.

    September 14, 2010 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Hollie

    and some women can't mentally handle a tight vacuum on their breasts 24/7. It can and has driven women to psychosis (especially those who have had psychotic depression pre-natally). Sorry if that reason isn't 'good enough' for some of you.

    September 14, 2010 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Karrie

    This is such a frustrating topic for me. While I applaud mothers that choose to breastfeed, I also applaud those who don't. It is a personal decision, and while many of you are trying to degrade the mothers that have chosen not to breastfeed, it would probably be a good idea to take a step back and stop criticizing. I have two beautiful and healthy babies. I tried so hard to breastfeed, and was devastated when my milk just wouldn't come in. I had alot of complications after giving birth to my daughter, and I believe I was released before I should have been( not knowing that then). I was sick for several weeks, and my doctor kept telling me that everything was okay, all the while I had almost no potassium, iron, and my hemoglobin count was next to nothing. Not to mention I had so much fluid on me, that I actually gained 20 lbs after giving birth, instead of loosing a few. I still don't know why this happened, I have always been very healthy and watch what I eat. I believe this had an effect on being able to breastfeed. I cried for weeks, I felt like I was letting my daughter down. I had such high expectations for breastfeeding. When my son came along, the same happened. With both of my children, I took supplements to produce more milk, but nothing worked. The most I would ever get if I pumped was .5oz from each breast, which we all know, will not feed a baby. With my daughter I tried for almost 2 months until if finally became too much, and she went exclusively to formula. With my son, our pediatrician told me to not make him suffer. I only tried for a few weeks. So please, before you judge mothers on their decision, perhaps you should tell yourself that maybe there is something else behind this.

    September 14, 2010 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. BooBear

    Moms, I'm a huge fan of the LLC. I think nursing is the most wonderful thing you can do for your child and yourself.
    BUT don't feel guilty about not breastfeeding exclusively. If you nurse at all, it's better than nothing. I did it for 6 years continuously (2 kids, almost 3 years apart) and I didn't have a huge milk supply. I supplemented with 2-3oz of formula a day when I went back to work. Once my kids started on solid foods, I drop the formula and nurse them when I can. Seriously, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. I have no doubt that you moms do whatever you can for your child's best interest. No one loves your child more than you. And that's the most important thing a mom can do.

    September 14, 2010 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply

    I nursed my son for 2 years. I was fortunate to live in NYC where people don't really care what you do. My mother in law and people that were in my life at the time used to get upset when I nursed in public, but you know what? It's none of anyone's business.

    September 14, 2010 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Joe

    The only disease are the people who work for the CDC. Just another arm of the government that tell mindless sheep what to do with their bodies. It is much easier for these people to just do as they are told then to follow their own rotting minds.

    September 14, 2010 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Teddi

      I don't really understand your statement. I actually know people at the CDC and they are doing some great stuff. This study is just giving us the numbers. It's CNN that put the spin on it.

      September 14, 2010 at 15:10 | Report abuse |
  40. laurab68

    I am proud to say I breastfed both my children until 18 to 19 months until my working full time put an end to it. I enjoyed it very much and knew I was doing the best for my kids. I still miss it. I truly believe it increases your child's IQ. Both my children are bright, beautiful and articulate. I'm proud to say I have a 7 year old who wants to be a pediatric surgeon. How many kids at that age choose that profession on their own! Ok I'll stop gushing now!

    September 14, 2010 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Blair

    Moms need to relax. We have two choices for feeding our babies. One is good, one is better, both will help babies grow and thrive.

    September 14, 2010 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. momo

    women who can breastfeed should consider themselves lucky, i have a 4 month old and i could not breastfeed because i was not producing like i should. but to the women woh choose to do formula i dont believe should be looked down apon for it.

    September 14, 2010 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Teddi

    So, you post something to and about moms and you end up getting haters. This is the problem. We all work hard to do the best for our kids. The least we can do is be supportive of each other. The best I could do for my child was 3 months of 8 oz a day. It was the very best I could do and had to exclusively pump to get it. But, I would not have even gotten that far without a community of support from my hospital in a mothers group they organized there with lactation help every week. My friends and family were no help either discouraging the bfing or looking down their noses at me for not producing enough milk. The guilt we bestow on each other is horrendous! I think we would all be more likely to BF if we had the LCs jsut a phone call away and the courage to stand up for it in the work place. There are many laws that require a place to pump, but how many places actually follow through? I work at a school. It is required here to have a place and yet there is none. I would have to go to my car or a bathroom as my office is open to the classroom. Also, articles like this do NOT help. They just make those of us who tried and failed for whatever reason feel incredibly guilty and those who choose not to, angry. We all have different reasons for what we do but we ALL want what's best for our kids. You want it main stream? Then I want to see every post partum woman on TV whipping out their boobs to feed their children. That might actually help.

    September 14, 2010 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Nova

    I can't believe the propaganda. There is absolutely no difference between breast-fed and formula-fed babies, expect formula-fed babies are a little taller and a little stronger due to receiving proper amounts of iron. Sadly, no one ever discusses what a woman should eat while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding does NOT neccesarily result in a healthy child. However, the average persons narrow mind cannot grasp that concept. Considering how much junk the average woman in america consumes, her milk could very well be worthless. Breastfeeding is promoted only because there is not enough clean water in the world. Period!

    September 14, 2010 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MDmomx5

      I'm curious as to where you are getting your information...from a formula company perhaps? There is a huge amount of peer reviewed , scientific research that shows that babies that do not get breastmilk are at higher risks for a multitude of all kinds of illnesses & death. Breastfeeding is the biological norm That does not mean every BF baby will be healthy- it just means that they will be at their own individual genetic level of health. If they had not received breastmilk their risks would be increased over their base line risks. It also does not mean that every formula fed baby will be sickly. That is why you can not compare one child to another, you have to look at huge groups & control for outside factors. I know plenty of people who never rode in car seats as kids & turned out "just fine" but I'm not willing to take that risk with my kids, just like I'm not willing to risk giving my kids formula.

      September 14, 2010 at 19:21 | Report abuse |
  45. Kim

    I tried so hard to breastfeed my first baby, but there was hardly any milk for him. My pediatrician berated me. The lactation consultants at the hospital were horrible. We tried every gadget and technique known to medicine until I bled. Yes, I supplemented with formula. He was hungry.

    My pediatrician insisted near the end of the first week of this that I spend a 24 hour period doing nothing but trying to breastfeed my child with no supplementation. No sleep, just holding a frantically crying hungry baby doing my best to massage any milk at all out of me. When I called her later that day to tell her it wasn't working, she insisted he was getting milk but I just didn't know it.

    When I told her he hadn't had any wet diapers for six hours, she told me she didn't believe me and insisted I take his diaper off and cut it apart to find the absorbed pee I had missed. There was none. Only blood. I took him to the emergency room, and found that his little 8 pound body had lost an entire pound since my pediatrician appt the day before.

    I finally decided to listen to my poor baby instead of the various #$%$#%$ doctors and nurses who had been just unbelieving that I had no milk. I fed him a bottle of formula, he had a wet diaper, and life went on great after that. He's now a very smart, happy, healthy six year old. I fired that pediatrician.

    I came to find out some time after that that I had a serious hypothyroid condition which may be why I had no milk. Regardless, the "nursing Nazis" I was warned about are real. I cannot believe some of the ugly and cruel remarks I heard from women who evidently thought I was just too lazy and uncaring to breastfeed my child.

    Ladies, if you're a new mom and for whatever reason, medical or economic, you just can't breastfeed your child, please have the peace of mind to know that formula is very good too, and your baby will be fine.

    September 14, 2010 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Teddi

      Kim, that is HORRIBLE! I am so sorry you had to go through that. I had a similar situation but luckily had really great LCs that actually helped me to feel not so guilty about something so out of my hands as to not produce enough milk. I have met some of those BF czars. One of them is one of my BFFs.

      September 14, 2010 at 15:13 | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      Thank you, Kim. I'm so sorry that you went through that, and thank you for being strong enough to share.

      September 15, 2010 at 20:48 | Report abuse |
  46. Babynurse

    @Alison – our lactation consultants are certified, so please don't make assumptions. My co-workers and I spend countless hours helping new moms breastfeed. And we do encourage them not to give up, especially when we know it's something they really want to do. Believe me, we don't run around the unit waving bottles of formula in their faces. However, how committed is the mom who over the course of 12 hours sends her child to the nursery non-stop so she can sleep because the baby wants to nurse round the clock? The reality is, breastfeeding can be difficult and not everyone is in it for the long haul. And it isn't up to me to be judge and jury. Or you either, for that matter. Oh, and before you judge me and my coworkers again without knowing us, our unit offers a free breastfeeding class, free breastfeeding support group, pumps for moms who cannot afford them, and we have 6 certified lactation consultants. Pretty darn good for a hospital that on average only delivers about 100 babies a month.

    September 14, 2010 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Sarah

    If you are a working mother who needs to pump at work, please know your rights under the law: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fact-sheets-index.htm

    See document: Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA

    September 14, 2010 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. bmom

    a lot of women also go back to work earlier which may factor into the lack of breastfeeding by 6mths. i am breastfeeding currently and it will be difficult to keep breastfeeding 'exclusively' while working full time.

    September 14, 2010 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. It's such a shame...

    ...that giving someone the facts equals feeling guilty. If you had to give your child a life-saving medication, you would, even if you knew there were also side effect that could potentially affect him/her for life. If you have to use formula because of whatever medical issue, accept the risks and move on. My issues with being formula fed didn't surface until I was in junior high. I'm not stupid, I'm not fat, I don't have a million allergies. I also don't have the stem cells I was meant to have or gut I should have, and I'm at higher risk of developing diseases as I grow older. Risk doesn't mean anything is definite either. Maybe I'll be lucky. Maybe I won't. But society needs to recognize breastmilk as normal and baseline and then support the women who cannot breastfeed with love, help, and donor milk.

    September 14, 2010 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Singe

    As a mother that formula feeds, I give major kudos to the mothers who continue to breastfeed. After 3 cases of mastitis, due to anatomical issues with baby and myself (horrible latching), I was advised to quit nursing. I did, and regret it from time to time. But I look at my baby and realize what is MOST important is a happy, healthy mother that is on top of her game in every other category. If you are able to breastfeed, do it. If you are not, or choose not you, you are not a bad mother.

    September 15, 2010 at 09:52 | Report abuse | Reply
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