Hospitals need to do more to help moms breastfeed
August 3rd, 2011
12:55 PM ET

Hospitals need to do more to help moms breastfeed

Hospitals could and should do a lot more to help women succeed at breastfeeding, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Hospitals need to greatly improve practices to support mothers who want to breastfeed," says Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC's director. "If they don't, at current trends, it will take more than 100 years before every baby in this country is born in a hospital where the hospital fully supports a mother's desire to breastfeed." Hospitals are encouraged to practice "Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding," which are based on recommendations from the World Health Organization and UNICEF. However, less than 4% of hospitals provide the necessary support based on these recommendations, according to the CDC report.

A new mother's ability to continue  breastfeeding is influenced by what she  experiences and how much support she receives during the first hours and days after birth. Breast milk is "the perfect nutrition," says Frieden. It provides antibodies to help newborns ward off illness until the immune system can produce their own, which doesn't happen until the infant is 6 months old.  Mom's milk also provides important hormones that help baby regulate how much it needs to eat. Plus, studies have shown that breastfeeding reduces diarrhea, ear infections and bacterial meningitis, as well as cutting the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes and asthma, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The CDC report says breastfeeding for nine months reduces a baby's odds of becoming overweight by more than 30%. For babies to get all of these benefits, the AAP recommends that infants should be fed only breast milk for the first six months of life and moms should continue to nurse while they start introducing solid foods until the baby is at least a year old, longer if mom and baby still want to.

Mothers also benefit from breastfeeding. Nursing burns calories. Moms could lose up to two pounds a month according to the AAP. It also helps the uterus contract and return to its normal size.  Studies suggest that women who breast feed have lower rates of ovarian and breast cancer later in life.

It also has some practical benefits. Baby's food supply is always on hand and it's free. Plus, a healthier baby reduces health care costs: "Failure to ensure breastfeeding or promote breastfeeding costs us $2.2 billion every year," says Frieden. And yet, according to the CDC's latest data, although most U.S. women – about 80% –  say before delivery that they intend to breastfeed, and 75% start breastfeeding, by the time the baby is 1 week old,  half of women have already given the baby formula. By the time the babies are 9 months old, only 31% are breastfeeding at all. In the United States, only 14% of women exclusively breastfeed their children for 6 months and less than half nurse their babies at all during the first 6 months.

While breastfeeding is a very natural thing – women have been doing it for thousands of years – it takes a little while for mom and baby to figure out how it works. Prenatal classes may have taught parents how to hold the baby while nursing, but getting baby to properly latch on can be challenging.  In some cases it doesn't work and then feeding the baby formula may become medically necessary. However, in most cases, with a little help and encouragement, moms can successfully nurse their newborns and get on the path of breastfeeding for a longer period of time.

This is where hospitals could do more according to the CDC. If all of the 10 "baby-friendly" recommendations were followed, mothers might be more successful at nursing.

* For example, despite the recommendation that mothers should exclusively breastfeed their newborns, nearly 80% of hospitals were giving babies formula, water or sugar-water, even though there was no medical reason to supplement their nutrition. Frieden says for many hospitals it's just routine to give every baby formula. New moms are also given gift bags with free formula when they leave the hospital, which sends a mixed message to new parents trying to breastfeed.

* Newborns should be placed on the mother's breast within the first hour after birth because the skin-to-skin contact helps mom and baby initiate the nursing process. Yet only half of all hospitals helped new moms do this.

* Only one-third of hospitals allow mother and child to stay in the same room. It's much easier to nurse every 1-to-2 hours if the baby is in the same room.

* Nearly 75% of hospitals do not provide breastfeeding support for families after they leave the hospital. Moms usually stay in the hospital for only a few days, and difficulties with nursing can crop up days and weeks later. Perceptions of not producing enough milk or infants having difficulty nursing are often cited as reasons for mothers who abandon breastfeeding. Follow-up calls from the hospitals and connecting new moms with support groups could encourage mothers to stick to it. Cria Perrine Ph.D., a CDC epidemiologist and one of the authors of the report, says her agency data indicate that when hospitals follow the baby-friendly guidelines their costs do not increase.

In response to this report, the American Hospital Association tells CNN: "Breastfeeding is a personal choice and hospitals will follow the wishes of the mother, be it to breastfeed or bottle feed. There are numerous reasons for the results and those include that hospitals can’t always accommodate a single room for maternity care and some mothers choose to send their babies to the nursery."

There are of course other ways to help mothers continue to breastfeed. One came earlier this week, when the Department of Health and Human Services adopted recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, which will require insurance companies to pay for breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling, without any cost to the insured (aside from her regular insurance premiums of course), starting in August 2012.

Mothers-to-be can also be proactive by checking out the hospital where they plan to deliver and ask about the programs in place to support the desire to nurse.  They can also inform and remind any and all hospital personnel that they want to have their baby on their breast within the first  hour after birth. Dads can help by reinforcing that this happens after the baby is born.  Once mom and baby are settled in their room, they can continue to advocate for themselves by letting the nurses know that they don't want their babies fed without their permission.

Providing accommodations and time for mothers to pump their breast milk when they return to work is also essential to women successfully continuing to breastfeed.  It helps them maintain their milk production and allows their babies to be bottle-fed with breast milk while mom is at work.  Lawmakers from Oregon and New York introduced legislation on Tuesday to expand the breastfeeding provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act to cover salaried office workers.  It already covers non-exempt employees.  Employers are supposed to provide employees with reasonable break times to pump their milk in a non-bathroom environment.  The legislation in both states also aims to protect women from being fired or being discriminated against for taking breaks to express their milk.

soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. Me

    Want to help more moms breastfeed? Stop sending them back to work after only six weeks of maternity leave. Why put all that time and effort into breastfeeding if you're just going right back to work, where you may not have time or opportunity to pump?

    August 3, 2011 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RB

      Agree 100%. As soon as I was back to work and dealing with the stress of it, I couldn't produce enough to keep up with my baby. If the government really wanted women to breastfeed longer, they need to extend maternity leave.

      August 3, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
    • CJ

      Completely agree with this statement! Of all industrialized nations, the United States is the cruelest to its new mothers. Most countries give 12 weeks standard maternity leave on upwards to 18 months! Expecting mothers to successfully breastfeed, work, and care for an infant after only six weeks of recovery is not support. I recently had a baby, and my milk supply dwindled three weeks after returning to work. I was devastated. We need to do more to ensure the health of our mothers and infants, both in policy and in the workplace.

      August 3, 2011 at 15:31 | Report abuse |
    • J Hill

      Federal law provides 12 weeks, not 6, for maternity leave in the US (assuming you've been working there for one year).

      August 3, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
    • Elly

      I totally agree! It takes a body almost 8 weeks for the milk to regulate and produce milk to keep up with babies demand, so how can we go back to work after 6 weeks???!!!!

      Same thing happened to me, after 4 weeks of returning to work, my milk supply dewindled and baby started to reject my breast milk and wanted formula! I was soooooo heart broken. Up until then, baby and I were doing just fine with breastfeeding.

      August 3, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
    • Whorhay

      Hopefully this action by the CDC will lead to better treatment and laws from the legislative branch. Remember the CDC can't make laws, just recommendations.

      August 3, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
    • K

      @J Hill. Companies of less than 50 employees are not required to comply with the FMLA law to provide their employees with a 12 week leave. Also, even if an individual is eligible for the 12 week leave they are not always guaranteed a paycheck during their time off. Which would make it challenging for some families to afford 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

      August 3, 2011 at 18:24 | Report abuse |
    • kdw31

      I second K statement. You are only guaranteed to be paid for 6 weeks. This is only if you have short term disability insurance. Other western countries provide for a great deal more paid leave than 6 weeks. I moved to Canada soon after my son was born and was amazed at maternity leave here. (I was not eligible since I had not worked in Canada prior to my sons birth). They get a full year at 60% pay. Not only that but the leave can be split between parents. So the mother could take the first 6 months and the father the second or any combination you can think of.

      August 3, 2011 at 21:25 | Report abuse |
    • p

      Agree with you 100%. Gets so much easy for a SAHM.

      August 4, 2011 at 01:12 | Report abuse |
    • RCognition

      While I agree that women should take more time with their babies before returning to the workforce, I do not agree that the company should be responsible for this. Labor gets paid to work, not to take care of children. A corporation shouldn't be responsible for paying women to take care of their children. Families should take advantage of the initial months of pregnancy to save for the future spell of unemployment after birth. By breastfeeding, families would save a bunch of money to offset the unemployment. Pregnancy is a great way to prepare families for their futures. It provides a schedule and deadline for preparations.

      At the same time that I do not agree in companies or the government being responsible for this, I do understand the concern and feeling of insecurity that arise when leaving work for maternity leave. Are there any other solutions to this problem that don't unfairly burden the employer or the government?

      August 4, 2011 at 10:34 | Report abuse |
  2. Jennifer

    I had two seperate hospitals with my two daughters and neither offered much assistance at all. They have one staff person for all of the patients and you are lucky to get 5 minutes with them. I tried with both and failed with both. There is so much pressure on us to breastfeed and no help to figure out how to do it properly...

    August 3, 2011 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Schuyler

      Absolutely. I took a class before I delivered and the LC spent 2 hours going over the benefits of breastfeeding and 20 minutes on how to do it. Not helpful.
      If more LCs would guide women instead of guilt-tripping them, then I think fewer new moms would give up. Any amount of breastfeeding is good; it's not all-or-nothing. There's no need to demonize formula, and there's no benefit to making a brand new mom feel like a failure because breastfeeding isn't going perfectly.

      August 3, 2011 at 16:12 | Report abuse |
    • Beth

      It is true that any amount of breastfeeding is good and certainly no one should feel like a failure but you can't deny that if women in Scandinavian countries can nurse at a 98% rate there is something going on in America that must be affecting the nursing rate. If 85% want to nurse but a tiny fraction of that do there is something going on. Formula samples are not allowed to be given in Scandanavian hospitals because they are known to undermine breastfeeding. They probably have more lactation consultants offering better help. The one I had at our hospital was so overworked that even though she was very good her help was not enough for me. It isn't about making people feel badly. It is that there *is* a problem in lack of information about how to make nursing successful among new mothers. If these women had more support and info more would be successful.

      August 3, 2011 at 17:37 | Report abuse |
    • smc52

      Agree w/Jennifer. Same hospital for both kids, but NO support, and tried but failed w/my two, too. They turned out healthy anyway, but it was very frustrating and very disheartening. And PAINFUL at first.

      August 3, 2011 at 18:54 | Report abuse |
  3. Kim

    My problem wasn't the hospital, it was the lactation consultants at the hospital. They were part of the le leche league and were scary. They just kept shoving my baby's face into my chest and wouldn't coach me on what I should have been doing. With my first son I could tell something was off with his latch and they kept saying it was my fault. Months later we found out he was tongue-tied and his upper lip was tied as well. By that point I had turned to exclusively pumping for him.

    With my second son, it went better, but once I returned to work and was only really given the chance to pump twice a day my supply dropped drastically and ended up having to supplement. Le leche league was once again not overly helpful since they knew I was a working mother and they gave me the cold shoulder that I wasn't a stay at home mom and second was my workplace. Twice a day isn't enought to keep up with a 6 month old. I'm now pregnant with my third and am hoping to have a better go at it this time.

    August 3, 2011 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nursing my toddler and loving it

      LLL can be very harsh, if you know any other nursing moms or maybe a doula, I'd suggest talking to them. I think it's awesome that you even keep trying! Great for you and your babies.

      August 3, 2011 at 16:25 | Report abuse |
    • Beth

      The hospital lactation consultants are often overworked. I recommend you consider paying for your own IBC lactation consultant who can help you. It's too bad you had a bad experience with your local LLL. Our local group was great. A leader came to my home when my child was a few days old and helped me get him latched on! That was very nice! There may be another LLL group in a nearby town with less judgmental members you could call for advice and help. You might also attend a few meetings while still pregnant and ask questions about how to pump. There were working women in our LLL group.

      August 3, 2011 at 17:34 | Report abuse |
  4. RB

    I will say that I must've gotten lucky as the breastfeeding support I got at the hospital was really incredible. I saw all five specialists they had on staff and each of them had different tricks for me, and by the time my milk supply got going, both my baby and I knew how to adjust things to make everything work out smoothly. They encouraged me to always call on them every single time I fed him during my stay, even in the middle of the night.

    I might not have been able to feed him naturally as long as I would've liked, but the support I had those first few days made what time I had to feed him really special.

    August 3, 2011 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alicia

      that is awesome to hear. I wish more hospitals were like that.

      August 4, 2011 at 09:41 | Report abuse |
  5. A Mom

    I had incredible breastfeeding support with my first child and IMO thats were it really matters is with first time moms. They even sent a nurse out to my house the day after I was discharged to make sure things were going ok. She was awesome. I was having trouble and she comes in and says "oh, honey not like that.Like THIS" She grabbed my (o)(o) and stuck that baby right on there.

    August 3, 2011 at 15:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Happy Wife

    I gave birth to my children at St. John's Hospital in Springfield, IL, and their lactation consultants were WONDERFUL!!! I nursed my oldest until he was 11 months old, and only stopped then, b/c I was 4 months pregnant with our 2nd son, and my doc encouraged me to go ahead an wein him. I nursed our youngest son for about 10 months, but had enough milk frozen that he was able to have breastmilk until he was almost a year old. I returned to work after 8 weeks with both children, and every day at 9, 12 & 3, EVERYONE knew where I was at, and not to bother me during that 15 minutes! I can honestly say, I could not have done it without the help and support of those lactation consultants and my husband. Husbands need educated on the importance of breastfeeding as well. The lactation consultants there actually met with my husband and gave him tips on helping me succeed once we got home from the hospital. My hsuband even took a breastfeeding class with me prior to the birth of our oldest. He helped tremendously, and became quite the breastfeeding advocate and encouraged women he worked with that were pregnant and had newborns!

    August 3, 2011 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Mom of 3

    I breastfed my 1st child for 4 months and that was partially because I was not allowed to nurse her until 24 hours after she was born via C-Section. I recieved very little instruction from anyone in the hospital and it was more frustrating to get her to latch on and eat properly. I would pump and feed her the milk since that was the only way she would eat. I finally gave up after 4 months. For my second child, the hospital staff did a wonderful job at helping me with my nursing dilema. My daughter nursed within 45 minutes of being born. She was breast fed until 7 months, partially due to the fact that I had to go back into the workforce and they were not flexible with allowing me to take breaks to pump. For my third child, now almost 2 years old, I nursed until a year old. There is a big difference when you know what you are doing and have the support you need from work and family. I truly believe that the United States does not help nursing mothers at all. It is already hard to leave your child being so little to go back to work and also try to provide the best nutrition for them.

    August 3, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Nursing my toddler and loving it

    These comments break my heart. I am so distraught at the amount of women who would like to breastfeed but can't do to having to return to work. I found myself in the same predicament and I chose to quit my job. It was a huge sacrifice that affects my life 2 years later. I wouldn't do it differently if given the chance. OUR GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE ASHAMED.

    August 3, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. icecreams

    Well as FMLA can be extended much longer, I dont really blame the government. Blame the company if you need extended leave and you can't get it. I also agree that La Leche is scary.

    August 3, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kirstyloo

      FMLA is for 12 weeks of unpaid leave only if you work in a company of a certain size. It isn't the answer to everything, but I do remember how hard it was to get passed.

      August 3, 2011 at 18:14 | Report abuse |
  10. Breastfeeding mama

    I couldn't agree more with the help that new mom's need. I guess I never realized how lucky I was to have a lactation specialist who was happy to help free of charge after we were discharged. Maybe some mom's are lucky and baby latches right away, but some of us has babies who struggle because of latching issues. Furthermore, pumping is not exactly practical for all mom's – I had a manual and electric pump and could only empty myself about halfway before nothing else would come out – and secondly, it HURT! THankfully I didn't have to go back to work and we nursed until he was right about a year old. He's a very independant little guy and pretty much weaned himself which made it a very gentle transition. Second baby is due in December and totally planning on nursing again! Such a wonderful experience.

    August 3, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Lauren

    Our hospital says they "support breastfeeding moms" and they have a "lactation consultant", but when my daughter was wisked away to the NICU and I told them I wanted to nurse they said okay, but didnt help me. They said they would bring a pump to my room to get milk for tube feedings...it took them a day and a half to wheel the pump from behind the nurses station to my room...and I was asking constantly. Then they were giving my daughter formula from bottles when I specifically said I wanted my breast to be the first thing she drank from. It was an awful experience and I ended up drying up because the hospital wouldn't allow me to succeed.

    August 3, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. charlene

    It makes me wonder how mothers survived in bygone days. People seem unable to cope any longer. Certainly a mother can figure this one out eh? Could it be they are getting too fat and lazy?

    August 3, 2011 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RealityBites

      Either you are completely ignorant of Woman's History, or you have no children. In the "bygone days" you reference, most Women were stay at home mothers and it wasn't an issue. And they "coped" because they were surrounded by other breastfeeding mothers. Now, we get Maternity Leave and FMLA, if we are lucky. We have breastfeeding Nazi's that like to stuff information down Woman's throats but actually do little to help them. Over the last 100 years, Woman's family support systems have been systematically dismantled by Ethnocentric Male focused politics – look at the fact that the CDC has to suggest coverage and support of what is most natural thing in world! The fact that you call new mothers who struggle to breastfeed fat and lazy simply exemplifies your ignorance and the lasting negative effects of the afore mentioned politics. Well done.

      August 3, 2011 at 17:36 | Report abuse |
    • Beth

      There may be some women who are off-putting who push nursing but there are a heck of a lot more who are members of La Leche League and volunteer for NO pay and help women out of the kindness of their hearts. I don't know what I would have done without my local group and the leaders who helped me be able to nurse my son. I think I would have switched for formula. I'm very grateful to those women. To paint all women who want to help others nurse as 'nazis' is not accurate. But you are right–in the past women grew up seeing others nurse and had the support of nursing mothers to know what to do. They weren't given formula with their new baby. They had support for nursing. THere is a lot less support for nursing now than in the past.

      August 3, 2011 at 17:40 | Report abuse |
    • RealityBites

      Beth – I never said "all women," I said we have Breastfeeding Nazis. I learned to breastfeed with the support of my mother and sisters, clearly not all Women are Breastfeeding Nazis 🙂

      August 3, 2011 at 17:48 | Report abuse |
    • kirstyloo

      We have this idea that 100% of moms used to successfully breast feed. This is simply not correct. While many ultimately mastered it, societies developed ways to support babies whose mothers couldn't feed them (e.g., difficulty in breast feeding or maternal death following childbirth). There was "cross feeding." My daughter might have learned better with a "mom" who knew what she was doing...and I might have learned better with a baby who knew how to feed. In areas where children NEED mother's milk to survive, about 20% of mothers still fail to be able to provide it. Again, this leads to a more community based method of childrearing.

      August 3, 2011 at 18:20 | Report abuse |
    • Beth

      98% of women in Scandinavian countries nurse exclusively, so, no, not 100% of women can nurse but quite close could if they had proper support and information.

      August 3, 2011 at 18:55 | Report abuse |
    • Newo

      I think it's probably safe to assume "Charlene" is not mom

      August 4, 2011 at 19:37 | Report abuse |
  13. Janet

    I had my third child 3 weeks ago. I had wonderful support for all 3. I was given a lot of useful materials to take home with me and I got phone calls from the lactation consultants at home to make sure everything was going ok. I was never made to feel like I was doing anything wrong when things were going perfectly. I wish all new mothers had such care!

    August 3, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Jeanine

    I had a good experience in the hospital for breastfeeding although your stay in the hospital isn't that long, and it would have been helpful to get a little bit of extended support. Yeah, LaLeche meetings are available, but I didn't feel comfortable in a group setting.

    I think breastfeeding is the most convenient way to feed and it's absolutely the best thing for baby, so good luck to all the new moms for giving it their best try.

    August 3, 2011 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Beth

    If you want to nurse my suggestion is to read up on it at go to a La Leche League meeting or two while pregnant so you know what helps be successful and what doesn't. I knew to refuse the free formula sample. Nursing can be difficult at first and if your baby is crying and you are tired and it is difficult to get your baby to latch and you have formula right there it would be SO easy to use. Without it in the house we made things work and I didn't have formula to reach for. That's the #1 thing for breastfeeding success–don't have formula in the house. I have so many friends who tried to nurse and it didn't work out and in nearly every case it was because they lacked information about breastfeeding and believed myths. I don't tell them this because what good would it do after the fact but over 98% of women CAN successfully nurse and if 85% want to but only such a small % do there is a disconnect and I see that disconnect as a lack of info.

    August 3, 2011 at 17:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Sarah

    This is in response to Charlene: Even 50 years ago it was much easier for a woman to learn to breastfeed from the other women in their lives (mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, neighbors). Now we often find ourselves far from our families with no support network that can assist in figuring out how to nurse. Plus, I think you are forgetting how high the infant mortality rates were.

    Breastfeeding is good, but I wish everyone would stop demonizing those women who choose not to or cannot for various reasons. Over 30 years later my mother still feels ashamed that she wasn't able to produce enough milk to feed her kids – through no fault of her own. There are many, many reasons a woman may formula feed, and people need to keep their mouths shut, not preach at these women.

    August 3, 2011 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RealityBites

      Well said. I struggled and ultimately had to give my baby formula. I believe, even seven years later, that if I had had the proper support this would never have happened. I am not ashamed of that, my baby needed to eat, but was crushed. Many of my friends are newish mothers so I hope to have a strong Mommy community next time 🙂

      August 3, 2011 at 18:02 | Report abuse |
    • Beth

      I think breastfeeding mothers get demonized as much if not more than formula feeding mothers. We are told we are pushing, that it is 'gross', to not feed our babies in public, to stop at some random age, etc. It is too bad that anyone is making anyone else feel badly about how they feed their child.

      August 3, 2011 at 18:57 | Report abuse |
    • stephanie

      I had plenty of breastfeeding support, including a post partum doula and a lactation consultant, and spent an unpleasant first month hanging out with a hospital grade breast pump on an hourly basis. Even doing all the right things, I wasn't able to produce enough milk to feed my child. We eventually settled into a combo feeding routine, which ended up working better for our family anyways. But at the time, it would have been nice to encounter some supportive literature that said that NOT breastfeeding exclusively was okay. I think women are put in this terrible bind where we are somehow expected to exclusively breastfeed our children, but at the same time not do it in public or take time out of the work day to accommodate it, etc.

      August 3, 2011 at 19:52 | Report abuse |
    • Alicia

      Nobody is demonizing mothers who formula feed. We are saying that there are many women who WANT to breastfeed but don't or can't due to misinformation and lack of support. And it works both way, I've received many ugly comments and looks for breastfeeding my daughter, and many people asking why I didn't just give her formula.

      August 4, 2011 at 09:46 | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      To Stephanie: I completely agree! My daughter was a preemie who didn't latch for a month and I was on medication (Wellbutrin – who knew?) that interfered with my ability to make milk. I still kept at it and nursed for 11 months while supplementing with formula. I found very little support in the literature for non- exclusive bfing, but I did the best I could and I believe my daughter benefited. Because she was a preemie, they also gave her a bottle as soon as she came out...worried about blood sugar. Domperidone was a lifesaver and I can't say enough good things about kellymom or Dr Jack Newman. It is clear that Canadians have much better resources.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:06 | Report abuse |
  17. Mel

    I would encourage all women to get help, but not from La Leche League. I have yet to meet a single woman who had a positive experience at a LLL meeting. The stated goals of LLL are different from the reality.

    I exclusively breastfed my son for 6 months. However, I struggled the whole time. It was a hard won battle that I won only because I had the luxury of time and enough income. I had the luxury of having an employer that provided maternity leave (albeit at a reduced salary), which greatly helped. I had issues with maintaining supply despite the fact that my son rarely had a bottle. I would have to pump after each feeding to try to keep supply up.

    LLL was absolutely no help, at either of the meetings I went to. In fact, I cried after each one. I thought I was going to get help. This is not what LLL meetings are for in practice. Instead, I was made to feel inferior physically and openly mocked for even considering going back to work when my mat leave was over.

    There are numerous other, less judemental resources out there. If you do an internet search for lactation consultants, you can find many out there (and consultations with them are relatively inexpensive – like the cost of a good pedicure – and frequently insurance will cover them). You can also call around when you are searching for a pediatrician to see what kind of support they offer (mine was great with respect to this).

    Preaching and judgement helps nobody, least of all the infants involved. Browbeating and abuse causes stress, which hampers the ability to breastfeed. If you criticize women who struggle and fail, you need to take a long, hard look at what your motivations are for doing such a thing.

    August 3, 2011 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kabra

      I'm sorry that you had a bad experience, but breastfeeding my children was a success due to support from La Leche League. I have also been to multiple groups in several states due to moving and found welcome in all of them, and was a huge help getting settled and oriented to a new area, found pediatricians, playgroups, etc...

      It is, in a big way, thanks to La Leche League that we are having this discussion at all. The women who volunteered (not paid a dime) for this organization since the 1950's were the crusaders that brought breastfeeding out into the mainstream and made it possible for women like you and me to have support. Lactation Consultants originated with La Leche League Leaders.

      August 3, 2011 at 23:16 | Report abuse |
    • JR

      I have to chime in about the LLL. I like their written and online publications, but the reception that I received from callling a local chapter and looking for assistance was the same as the OP. I'm an RN with a BSN, so I fully understand why one should commit to breastfeeding but all I literally received literal hostility from the chapter leader when I informed her that I was going to eventually go back to work half time.

      Perhaps if they were realistic about modern day life, and presented the realities of working and BF, while letting a woman make her own choice without massive judgement, they might end up ultimately having more women breastfeed.

      For the record, I ended up getting help elsewhere from a lactation consultant, and with much stubborn determination, got it together and BF two children, each for three years.

      August 4, 2011 at 02:04 | Report abuse |
    • sara

      Sorry you had a bad experience with LLL. not all are like that. You have to realize that there is a group for every major city, heck there are 5 different ones in my city. It's kind of a generalization to say that they are judgemental You could say that they are judgemental in *your town.*

      August 13, 2011 at 09:48 | Report abuse |
    • Anne G

      Your anti-La Leche League comments make me wonder if it is some sort of divided organization. La Leche League in my area is the anti-thesis of judgmental. They support any and all breastfeeding:: days, weeks, years, etc. They could care less if I supplemented with formula or not. Their only concern seemed to be whether or not a little Enfamil would interfere with my desire to keep up my supply! OTOH my friends who hired Lactation Specialists were met with impatient, time-pressured professionals.
      In some ways it seems silly to me to bash volunteers whose intention is to help, even if they are unsuccessful. Hospitals should be willing to put their money where their mouth is and pay for breastfeeding support rather than relying on volunteers.

      August 13, 2011 at 23:31 | Report abuse |
  18. michelle

    I agree with all of the comments regarding the lack of support at hospitals and the length of maternity leave. But I'll tell you another reason American women don't nurse as long – most people in this country don't want to see a mother nursing in public. So as long as you have no other kids to take care of and you're planning on staying locked in your house 24-7 good luck with nursing longer than 6 weeks. It seems like a lot of people are on board with recommending it as long as they don't have to see it. I'm a mother of 4 and have breast fed all of my kids. I was lucky enough to have 3 months maternity leave each time but I was always limited to what I could do with my kids on my time off because even if you're discreet about it people have a problem with it. And sadly I live in Illinois where it's a right to nurse in public but you still have store owners asking mothers to leave or not do "that" in their store. It's perfectly OK to have voluptuous boobs spilling out of billboards and commercials everywhere but God forbid if you have anything showing with a baby attached to it.

    August 3, 2011 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stephany

      I totally agree with you! Women should be able to feel comfortable breastfeeding wherever and whenever! I personally did not give a crap what anyone thought, but I know for some people it can be awkward. I think that another problem is that women are insecure about their bodies!

      August 3, 2011 at 19:57 | Report abuse |
    • NYer in NJ

      Michelle, I totally agree with you. America is at once overse-x-ed and pathetically prude! It's ok for young teenagers to walk through the mall in the skimpiest of camis, boobs all over the place, but heavens forbid if you sit down to nurse your baby in public. Never mind that nobody sees anything they would not see otherwise...
      I had a friend who was thrown out of a restaurant (in NY, btw) because she was breasfeeding – and she was showing no skin at all!

      That said, I always ignored all nasty stares and gave comments right back and nursed all 4 of my kids for at least 18 months!

      Women need to learn to stand up for their rights (or rather, stay sitting and nursing!) to breastfeed their kids.

      August 4, 2011 at 09:54 | Report abuse |
  19. gg456

    Here's an idea...buy formula. It isn't the 1900s anymore people.

    August 3, 2011 at 19:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Beth

      Here is an idea, read up on the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks of formula feeding. The American Academy of Family Physicians states that formula feeding leads to the deaths of 2 infants per thousand per year. The risks of formula are not so high but they are not zero and the cost of formula is great. Why spend a thousand or more on something a woman's body makes for free?

      August 3, 2011 at 20:41 | Report abuse |
    • mom4755

      Just because someone was breastfed, doesn't mean they will be 100% healthy after birth. Not to mention, we are humans, not animals and in this day and age, if you are a woman who doesn't feel the need to work and has all the time in the world to sit around then so be it but who is going to bring home the money to raise the kids?

      August 3, 2011 at 21:47 | Report abuse |
    • Beth

      The part where you refer to animals is what breatstfeeding women find so offensive. There are certainly judgmental women who nurse but there are comments like this and much worse that get directed at nursing mothers as well.

      August 3, 2011 at 22:49 | Report abuse |
    • NYer in NJ

      Wow, gg456, ignorance must indeed be bliss.

      And to 4755, just because you have to go back to work, does not mean you have to stop nursing! Women need to stand up for their right to breastfeed. When I returned to work after having my third child, the company did not have a spot set up for pumping. I was told I could use the bathroom, and I told them in no uncertain terms that that was not acceptable. They had a nice little pumping corner set up for me in a few hours! The company where I work now actually has a lactation room set up, even though it's a small company with only just over 50 employees!

      As long as the body produces, where there is a will there is a way!

      August 4, 2011 at 09:45 | Report abuse |
    • Lady H

      Ignorant. Why would you prefer to give your child a synthetic food possibly harmful food if you could provide the perfect food for him at no cost As our creator intended? We are not animals but we are mammals. Mammals were designed to breastfeed. Just because you can feed formula doesn't mean you should. Formula is for people who can NOT feed their babies. It was not supposed to be a replacement for all breast milk. People give up too easily on breastfeeding because they can always just give them formula. It's not easy but it's what is best. Not guilt. Just a fact.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:43 | Report abuse |
    • Katie-Rose

      No formula in production, anywhere in the world, is as healthy for a baby as breastmilk. So here's an idea... read a book and learn something before you make an ignorant comment like that.

      August 4, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
  20. Lace

    The hospital where I delivered at was very good for breastfeeding support. I believe all the nurses were trained and there were LC.s. I didn't think BF would be so hard but I struggled at first. I finally got the hang of it but had to go back to work at 4 weeks. I work at a job where I am an exempt employee and finding time to pump was hard and very time consuming. Twice a day was the most I could do and my supply just dwindled. I managed to bf/pump for the first 3 months but had to supplement for months 2 and 3. I never got my supply back after I went back to work and working 60 hrs/wk plus commute was too much. I was happy I made it that long but I of course would have liked to bf longer than that. I can see how most moms want to but when life happens, you have to make adjsutments.

    August 3, 2011 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Andrea

    It's been a few years, but I received great support at Candler Hospital in Savannah, Georgia. However, the best advice I received was from the hospital housekeeper in my room who saw me struggling. She told me to rub that baby's feet and how to get the baby to latch. I did receive follow up calls from the hospital as well.

    August 3, 2011 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Duane V

    Moms, we have a site that helps you test out baby products and get baby coupons free. Try http://www.freegifts4kids.com. Quick easy sign up.

    August 3, 2011 at 20:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Greystoker

    Where can I sign up to show those babies how it's done?

    August 3, 2011 at 21:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Greystoker

    And just a heads up on this: Mom, put the kid next to lunch and they will use it.

    August 3, 2011 at 21:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Katscan

    I was excited about breastfeeding, but my milk didn't come in until 8 days after I delivered, so we had to supplement with formula. Plus, I had a 10 lb baby and I never produced enough to satisfy her. I'd have to pump three or four times to make one bottle for her. My doc said some women just don't produce a lot of milk. I'll try again if we have others, but it would have been nice to have had support after I was released bc that's when we experienced the problems.

    August 3, 2011 at 22:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Beth

      I hope you get support if you do have another baby and choose to breastfeed. Nursing a baby directly stimulates more milk than a breast pump and the more you nurse the more milk your body makes. Nursing works on supply and demand. Not having milk come in for 8 days is a long time. The size of your baby should not have mattered due to the supply and demand of breastfeeding. YOu may have had underlying issues but if you had had support from an IBC lactation consultant and/or a good, supportive, La Leche League leader you would have gotten more help than you may have gotten. Pumping is much harder than nursing so I give you a LOT of credit for doing that!

      August 3, 2011 at 22:47 | Report abuse |
  26. ECMD

    As a pediatrician that works in the newborn nursery, I am very excited to see this article – but we need MORE like this. We need more support for those who want to breasfeed, and it needs to be given at multiple steps – during pregnancy, in the newborn nursery, in the weeks after, and in the workplace (ie more pumping rooms, etc).
    And we need to prepare our mothers for the reality of breastfeeding, we need to teach our fellow women what is normal! Breastfeeing might be natural but it can take a while for it all to click. When the breasfeeding doesn't work well right away, mothers should not feel like they have failed, or give up because they are unaware of the fact that difficulties are VERY common. I have met too many women who stopped breastfeeding because they were unaware of that the difficulties they were experiencing were completely normal. I feel very strongly that the more we prepare women for the realities of breastfeeding, along with a lot of support to help them thru, the more success we will have!
    Thank you for letting me get up on my soapbox – I see soooo many women who want to breastfeed but are given unrealistic expectations. I am on a mission to get to word out so that we can see more success.
    (On a final note, I also want to make it clear that there are times when, despite all best efforts, supplementation or full formula is necessary. No infant should be malnourished or dehydrated because of this fear of formula, an no mother should be chastised if they have a medical condition that prevents them from breastfeeding)

    August 3, 2011 at 22:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Kabra

    Totally disappointed that this breastfeeding article does not have a picture of a mom breastfeeding. It is a cute picture but not an accurate illustration for the topic.

    August 3, 2011 at 23:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. aklucia

    In the 1970s most moms in my little Northern California town breastfed their babies and there was a lot of support for breastfeeding in birth classes and in the hospitals. I was rather shocked to find out 20 years later breastfeeding was not quite as common.

    August 4, 2011 at 00:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. vmaxnc

    So maybe moms need to make a choice-take the best possible care of babies, or work. Is it fair for a business to schedule itself around procreation? Why is the government involved in breastfeeding? People are always talking about government being too big and intrusive, but no one seems to care when it comes to topics like this.

    August 4, 2011 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. OnlyAmerican

    Want more women to breastfeed? I believe it has very little to do with any in-hospital stuff AFTER the baby is delivered, it has to do with the information and support the expectant mother gets BEFORE the baby is born. Having nursed my daughter until she was almost a year old, I made the decision well before she was born. By making that decision before hand, knowledge of what is going to happen, what to expect, problems to be encountered etc. has already been thoroughly investigated and learned about. And, by learning way before hand, the expectant mother has an opportunity to deal with controversy potentials presented by friends, family and random associated "do-gooders."

    August 4, 2011 at 00:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lace

      I was educated before hand and took classes but I think that only goes so far. It is like taking the childbirth classes. It is only a scenario not the real thing. It is hard to know what issues will or won't come up and the solutions when you haven't even breastfed before. I think help after delivery is where the emphasis should be because you now have the experience.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
  31. Lynn

    I nursed my baby for 8 1/2 months until he weened himself. I don't think it would have been possible to nurse that long if I had to go back to work. Who wants to stop working every 3 hours to pump. It's difficult enough as it is to pump at home, I could not imagine having to do it at work. That being said..I was very angry with the nurses at the hospital where I delivered my son. I was drugged up and recovering from a C-section and within hours of my giving birth they were instructing my husband how to bottle feed and giving him formula without even asking me. Even though I was very groggy, I told the nurse that I did not give her permission to give my son formula. I think the nurses get kickbacks from the formula companies either in cash or gifts. In fact they didn't even offer me a pump in the hospital until the day after my son was born because they new the lactation consultant was coming that day. If I had known that I was allowed to have the pump I would have asked for it immediately. Later I was told by my doctor that the nurses were out of line and should not have given my son formula because the clear fluid that comes out before your milk comes in is very high calorie and a small amount provides plenty of nurishment for a newborn. I am so glad that I stuck with the nursing. It took approximately two weeks of trying before my son latched on and nursed well. He nursed for 45 minutes straight at 2:00 AM and I didn't move a muscle for fear that I might break his latch. The experience of nursing is wonderful and very fulfilling. Any Mother who doesn't give it at least 2 weeks before giving up doesn't know what she's missing out on. The bond you have with your baby while nursing is as good as it gets and not having to make bottles in the middle of the night is priceless. If that doesn't convince you then think about this...breast milk is fresh, living food perfectly suited to nurish and protect your baby...whereas formula is dead food made from cow's milk. There are no living cells in formula and no antibodies to protect your baby from illness.

    August 4, 2011 at 01:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Kate

    When my daughter was born, nearly 17 years ago, I had to fight to breastfeed on all sides.

    My ex was horrified, and told me that breastfeeding was "gross".

    My ex-MIL told me that I wasn't "allowed" to breastfeed, and she'd call Social Services.

    The hospital talked a great game, but offered precisely zero breastfeeding support. What lactation consultant?

    In spite of all of them, I nursed my baby. I DEMANDED that they give her to me to attempt to get her to latch on as soon as she was born, and boy, she didn't have any latch issues, she knew EXACTLY what to do! I told my ex-MIL to go ahead and call Social Services, and we'd see what happened. Funny, they told her to mind her own damn business, and pointed out that since we were receiving WIC, we were meant to be getting MORE breastfeeding support, and she needed to shut her mouth. My mom was very encouraging and helpful – she didn't get to nurse me, but she did get to nurse my brother. My baby nursed for eight months, and only self-weaned after she started solids, and wanted to EAT with the rest of the family!

    August 4, 2011 at 01:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Jennifer

    My daughter is 2 months old, I started out breastfeeding only, but that is certainly easier said than done, especially if you are a mother that works full time. Now my daughter drinks mostly formula, but I wish I had the time to breastfeed more. It is a personal choice and a woman should never have to feel guilty about breastfeeding or feeding their baby formula,.

    August 4, 2011 at 02:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. jojo

    How about hospitals start with sensitivity training for staff that deals with new mothers and breastfeeding.

    I still remember my first baby – no assistance, no support (even in the hospital). I was sore, scared and tired and I was
    left to it all alone. No follow up care, no suggestions. Any wonder I gave up?

    Fast forward to baby 2 – lactation nurse comes in : "Are you breastfeeding" Me: "No". Nurse (angry, stomps her foot
    and says very aggressively " Why the h-;; not, don't you know you are not doing the best thing by your baby" – turns on
    one heel and stomps away.

    Any wonder I did try again?

    Too many staff think that we come mentally equipped to do what we are physically equipped to do – less judgement,
    aggravation and fear mongering would be helpful. More hands on support is vital.

    How are my babies? Twenty two and Twenty strapping, healthy and neither one brain damaged. So much for breast feeding.

    August 4, 2011 at 02:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. LEB

    Extended breastfeeding coaching should be considered part of the labor and delivery "package" offered by hospitals, because many women experience some kind of challenge with breastfeeding that can't be addressed during their 24-72 hour hospital stay. It takes a few days for a woman's milk even to come in, and beginning the process can be frustrating and even painful. But these things can be overcome for almost all mothers, if they have someone to guide them in technique and recognizing what is "normal."

    A baby won't starve if she is fed formula, and infant formula gets better every year, so it's a pretty darn good second option. But human breastmilk will always be best, whether it comes from Mom or a donor, so every mom-to-be deserves to be provided with good information and later support so that she can make the best possible decision for both her baby and herself.

    August 4, 2011 at 05:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. janis

    I'm sorry, did I miss something - breastfeeding as a new concept??!! What a bunch of babies we all are. We need lessons in breastfeeding? We need more paid leave so we can breastfeed? I'll tell you what - if you can't afford to have children under the conditions in which you live - DON'T HAVE CHILDREN. Considering all the time off you're going to need from your important job as your kids are growing up and you are hopefully RAISING THEM - breastfeeding time is the least of it.

    August 4, 2011 at 09:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Alicia

    This article makes me so sad, because it is so true. My hospital was NOT breastfeeding friendly. My daughter was taken from me at birth for two hours to monitor. In that time I was not allowed to visit or leave my hospital room. 15 minutes before they brought her back to me they gave her a bottle of formula. I was horrified. They brought her to me and told her I was not allowed to feed her for three hours because of the formula. We struggled with latching on, and the next morning the hospitals LACTATION CONSULTANT came in while I was showering and told my family she had heard the baby wasn't eating well and she was going to give her formula. Thankfully this was prevented, but if this is what the lactation consultant suggested, is it any wonder women have problems? Thankfully, I was completely set on nursing and worked through several major problems with a wonderful lactation consultant I found personally. I nursed my daughter exclusively for six months, and she is still nursing at a year, but it was a struggle, and I completely understand how hard it is and why people give up without support. Something needs to be done in our country.

    August 4, 2011 at 09:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. NYer in NJ

    Wow, this is an article about breastfeeding and my comment got deleted because I put in b-o-o-b-s. Pathetic. As I said in that post: America is overse-x-ed and pathetically prude a the same time.

    Women get thrown out of restaurants for breastfeeding their babies, but it's ok for young teenage girls to walk around in the skimpiest of camis with their breast all over the place. Seriously, America, get it together!

    August 4, 2011 at 09:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Katelyn

    I have been able to successfully nurse my son Michael who is 9 months, and it's been hard to get used to I plan on nursing him well past a year if I can... What makes me so sad is so many other young mothers, (I'm only 19) give up on nursing too soon and end up spending hundreds on formula. It took me almost 4 months to fully adjust to nursing him. It's been so worth it though. I haven't spent a dime on formula.

    August 4, 2011 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. KellyinCA

    It is difficult to swing the pendulum back after two generations of mothers have been conditioned to use formula and that breastfeeding was "uncivilized." Those who are taking the steps to bring it back are to be commended, but also exhorted to have patience until a critical mass is reached.This is the last area in which elitism or snobbery or bullying would be expected but it exists, and its effects are as devastating to mothers and their bonds with their children as the bullying can be to those who encounter it at school or work. This approach, taken by some healthcare workers, some La Leche League chapters, and some family members or friends around mothers, will _not_ bring us to the point at which breastfeeding is normal and an expected outcome.

    In the centuries prior to the creation of infant formula, a new mother who could not nurse either got the funds together for a wet nurse, had the support network of other mothers in her family who could crossfeed, took the risk of using cow's or goat's milk, or simply ended up an infant mortality statistic. Formula was never intended to replace breastfeeding to the extent that it has in developed nations, and its promotion and use in underdeveloped nations was a blunder that took decades to correct. However, it has contributed to lower mortality rates and the advantages of breastfeeding over bottle-feeding are negligible over the long haul, and shrinking continually in the immediate term.

    Some advantages cannot be eliminated – breastfeeding will strengthen immunity in infants, a property which cannot be replicated in any form. Breastfeeding needs to be encouraged as a healthier choice overall and as a natural progression from pregnancy, and that there are really only a few obstacles to breastfeeding that cannot be overcome.

    However, the notion that 100% breastfeeding rates will somehow turn our babies into superpowered geniuses that will bring about world peace and assert our supremacy on the intergalactic stage (okay, a slight exaggeration of the stakes apparently involved) needs to go away. The guilt it heaps upon mothers on either side only serves to foment resentment and undermines women's support systems. If, in the end, the baby is healthy and growing and the mother happy to have the baby around, then it shouldn't matter how that outcome is reached.

    August 4, 2011 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. dianee

    i never breastfed my two sons and they turned out to be very healthy children. an occassional cold but that's it. i dont see what the bfd is with breastfeeding. it's an inconvenience to say the least. i tried but it was hard to rest anything on my belly, let alone a 5-10 lb child on it after my 2 c-sections. you dont have to teach a woman about the benefits of breastfeeding, if any. the info is out there. if she wants to do it, she'll do it. i personally think it's nasty. (idk why but it is) imo

    August 4, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AD

      It's the most naturally gift you can give to your baby. Imagine countries where there are no formula exist, if those women think like you(breastfeeding is nasty) then their babies will die in starvation.

      August 4, 2011 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
    • dianee

      that's the good thing about america. we can choose to feed our babies formula or breast milk, keep our legs open or closed. third world countries are not as educated as us here thus the reason why they have millions of children they cannot feed to begin with. and forcing to breastfeed? wow. do you really want a country where we are forced to breast feed just because a few ignorant people say it's the 'right thing to do'?

      August 4, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
    • tamboogie

      There are babies who do just fine on formula but breast milk is better. It's not nasty. Breast milk is something that a woman"s body naturally produces to feed their baby no matter where you live in the world or what kind of birth a woman has. A woman's body produces breast milk regardless whether they choose to breastfeed or not. If you look into the physiology of the female breast it has mammary glands that produce milk for infants that is why women have breasts.

      November 9, 2011 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
  42. AD

    I have been breastfeeding my son of 6 months now. I have to tell you, i myself ended up supplementing him with formula out of ignorance. On his 2nd day his weight dropped which scared me and I requested nurse to give him formula. I found out later on from his pediatrician that it is totally normal for a baby to loose weight right after birth. The nurse who gave me the formula should have discuss with me first or get me a lactation consultant before just handling the formula.

    Babies are born to be breastfeed. If hospital/insurance company make formula prescription based then maybe all mothers in our country will be force to breastfeed which will be best for them and their babies. Right now, mothers have a choice which is making breastfeeding difficult.

    August 4, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Cat

    I was able to breastfeed both my children, each one year. I did return to work full time in a professional position. I did pump twice a day at work...giving up my lunch and breaks to do so. It was a lot of hard work and not at all convenient. I counted down the months and days until I was done, seriously. It was important to me so I did the hard work and suffered the inconvenience. It was NOT easy. I believe it is a personal choice. That said, Americans have a serioius aversion to hard work and inconvenience. Breast feeding rates will never change because of that.

    August 4, 2011 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Amy

      Congrats for doing that but to say that other moms have a serious aversion to hard work and inconvenience is awfully judgmental and condescending. You can look down on me and think I am lazy all you want because I only breastfed for 3 months and supplemented with formula. I know I did the best I could with my situation. I went back to a 60+ hr/wk job where I don't have to have breaks besides getting 8 hours off between being at work at 4 weeks postpartum. I think moms need to support one another and not be so quick to judge. You sound just as ignorant as the previous posters saying just use formula.

      August 4, 2011 at 14:24 | Report abuse |
  44. smith207

    We need more than just lactation consultants in hospitals- breastfeeding needs to be supported across all areas of the hospital.

    I just had my first baby 3 weeks ago, and in the hospital I could sense the tension between the lactation consultants and the rest of the medical staff. The pediatrician was telling me my son needed formula supplemented because he was a big baby and two seconds later the lactation consultant said "don't give him formula". As a new mom- who am I supposed to listen to?

    Later that day, the nursing staff brought the baby back from his state required vision/hearing test with a pacifier in his mouth and the lactation consultant gave me a lecture about how pacifiers are not recommended while the baby is learning to breastfeed. My thought was- don't lecture me, talk to the nursing staff who gave it to him!

    So much conflicting information- all of the staff need to get on the same page. Three weeks later breastfeeding is going well despite all of the confusion in the hospital- when my son and I got home I was able to figure things out on my own without all of the drama.

    August 4, 2011 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Annie

    This is obsurd that we are blaming employers and hospitals for our own choices. As adults we choose to start a family or keep an unexpected gift. If you want to breastfeed, YOU need to do the research and ask the right questions. If YOU need more than 6 weeks, plan a financial strategy. If YOU and your family are unable to do this than you have no right to have children. Having a family is not a right it is a privilege.

    August 4, 2011 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Jaime

    I disagree with everyone complianing about milk supply decreasing, it depends on what you want to put into it. I breastfed my little girl for 18 months and she self weaned, I still had 3 more months of pumped milk, I did take off 12 weeks but I went back to work fulltime 12 hr shifts and still mananged to pump enough milk to keep her going to 21 months, I just had to sacrifice a little, I would get up once a night and pump when she started sleeping through the night and get up early to pump before going to work, I admit it was not easy but a little sacrifice was worth it to me to know I was doing what was best for her.

    August 4, 2011 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Porsche' In Texas

    My Hospital did GREAT with helping me and supporting me. i told them how important breast feeding is to me and within 5 min of my son being born (enough time for me and dad to calm down a little) i was already nursing (well teaching him to nurse). i was so happy that they were so great with my decision. let held off on all the test and bath and everything for about 15 min so i could nurse : ) they of course suctioned him out and listened to his breathing and all that before i nursed but they did all that while he was still laying on my chest! And my son is about to be 4 months old and i am still exclusively breastfeeding and plan to until he is 6 months and then we will start to introduce a few foods, and he is for sure going to breastfeed until at least one year.

    August 6, 2011 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Lins

    I agree 100%. Breastfeeding is no easy task and having to pump if and when you return to work is a HUGE time commitment. http://www.busymomboutique.com/Pump-A-Pair-Pumping-Accessory_p_55.html

    August 9, 2011 at 23:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. AJ

    I am a traveling nurse and agree breastfeeding support is not the best in most hospitals. Not because nurses are agents it or don't want to help. All over the world nurses are being required to take more duties and more patients. In most places nurses are required to take care of 8 babies or 4 couplets (a couplet is 1 mom and 1 baby). Normal care of a mom and a baby (assessments, medications, charting etc) takes very min an hour, typically longer. And if mom is a cesarean delivery even more time. Helping a new mom nurse can easily take 45 min to an hour every time the baby eats (every 2-3 hrs). Can't be done in an 8 hour shift so unfortunately the time for helping with breastfeeding gets cut out. We used to have some help during the day, never on nights, from lactation consultants but as they do budget cuts those people's hours and sometimes positions are cut. Most nurses learn on the job without education. So they usually don't even know what they are doing unless they have breastfed their own child or have been working on the floor for awhile.

    August 11, 2011 at 06:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Kay

    Its not that hard to work and pump. Just saying.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
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