It has been well established and thoroughly reported that breastfeeding is a key contributor to infant health, as well as providing numerous health benefits for nursing mothers. What is often not talked about are the times, despite mothers wishes and efforts, where breastfeeding doesn’t work out as planned. Mothers who are unable to breastfeed, either at all or as long as they planned, often report a deep sense of loss & guilt. Experiencing these feelings is normal however it is also important not to think of yourself as a failure, as having trouble with breastfeeding can be a common occurrence. Even though you may not be satisfied with your experience thus far, breast feeding for even a single day, is something to be proud of and is an extraordinary gift to your baby’s well-being.
There are a number of options for mothers who are unable breastfeed or choose not to. These include using donor milk, formula feeding, expressed breast milk or a combination of any or all of the former. Sometimes medications prescribed by your doctor can help improve your milk supply. Breastfeeding can also be resumed again following a break from feeding. With adequate time, persistence and a co-operative baby, milk supply can often be successfully re-initiated.
Current evidence shows 9 out of 10 women start out breastfeeding their babies however less than half are fully breastfed at 4 months of age. The main cause of difficulty with breastfeeding is the fact that mothers often have a lack of information and a lack of support, at the times they need it most. There are a numerous support services that can help including lactation consultants, midwives, maternal child health nurses and of course your local GP.
Being a new mother can sometimes be difficult terrain to navigate but always remember there is plenty of help available if required. If you’re concerned, come and speak to your GP during World Breastfeeding Week – 1-7th August 2018, or visit the following websites for more information: