Some Moms Discontinue Breastfeeding Within Two Months Due to Nursing Difficulties

An interesting study on breastfeeding has again made it to the headlines by stating that first time mothers who face problems with breastfeeding are more likely to abandon it within two months.

Many first time breastfeeding mothers face several challenges. Moms who expect this process to be easy are overwhelmed by the initial difficulties faced like low quantity of milk, attachment problems etc. A few feel drowned by several concerns and challenges, which pressurizes them to give up breastfeeding in the first few weeks.

The latest finding presented by a team of researchers from the perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and  University of California Davis Medical Center revealed that moms who report early concerns and problems with regard to breastfeeding are 10 times more vulnerable to stop it within two months.

"Breastfeeding problems were a nearly universal experience in the group of first-time mothers in our study, with some of the most common problems also being the most strongly associated with stopping breastfeeding," Laurie Nommsen-Rivers, PhD, a researcher in the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center said in a news release. "Priority should be given to enacting strategies for lowering the overall occurrence of breastfeeding problems and, in particular, targeting support for mothers with infant feeding or milk quantity concerns within the first week after leaving the hospital."

The researchers observed 523 first time mothers. The researchers noticed that 92 percent of the new moms suffered breastfeeding problems three day after birth. One of the predominant concerns that nearly 52 percent of the mothers faced was 'infant feeding' at the breast- behavior of the baby in which it fails to 'latch on' properly. One other common concern for 44 percent of the mothers was breastfeeding pain while 40 percent of them suffered from problems relating to the quantity of the milk.

For the study, the researchers held six series of interviews with 532 first time mothers, conducted at the beginning of the pregnancy, then on three, seven, 14, 30 and 60 days after giving birth. On interviewing the moms, the researchers received thousands of concerns and problems over breastfeeding.

According to Dr. Nommsen-Rivers, the mothers who reported concerns at interviews that were conducted on days three and seven postpartum were highly associated with subsequent abandoning of breastfeeding.

"This may be related to the fact that these interviews captured a time when there is often a gap between hospital and community lactation support resources. Our findings indicate helping mothers meet their breastfeeding goals requires a two-pronged approach: Strengthening protective factors, such as prenatal breastfeeding education and peer support, and ensuring that any concerns that do arise are fully addressed with professional lactation support, especially in those first few days at home," said Dr. Nommsen-Rivers, also the lead investigator of the study.

Eight percent of the mothers who did not report problems with breastfeeding on day three had certain protective factors such as  non-medicated vaginal birth, youth, prenatal self-confidence about breastfeeding and strong social support.

This study could provide answers to the recent survey conducted by the National Health Service that revealed fewer mothers were breastfeeding in England.

The finding is documented online in the journal Pediatrics.