The vast majority of mommies are aware of the fact that breastfeeding is the best option. Even though breast milk is the perfect food for babies, still, only 50% of all mothers breastfeed exclusively since the baby’s birth. That number drops to 17% as their babies turn six months old.
So, as it is widely established that breastfeeding is the ideal baby food, why do some women choose not to breastfeed? Some mommies decide not to do it due to personal choice, or a complicated work schedule, while others, due to medical reasons, do not have a choice at all.
Whatever the reasons may be, mothers deserve more appreciation and support because feeding an infant involves difficulties that only a mommy can understand and has to deal with.
Luckily, most jobs offer maternal leave to their employees, but it is not always as long as a new mom might need. The fact that it takes some time to learn how to properly feed a baby also must be taken into account. Some moms have to get back to work just a few weeks after giving birth, which makes it difficult to define, and stick, to a consistent feeding schedule.
Busy schedule or not – handling a newborn, family responsibilities, and a home are overwhelming on their own. The stress of pumping and breastfeeding can be a bit too much for a mom.
In cases like that, a mother might decide not to breastfeed exclusively and opt for either supplementing breastmilk with formula or feeding their baby only with formula. Those are some of the ways a new mom might loosen her schedule.
Lack of professional help
It is not uncommon for a first-time parent to be left without breastfeeding support once they get back home from the hospital. A lot of parents do not know where to look for assistance or whom to pose questions to when problems occur. If a woman is not given proper follow-up instructions and info on available resources about breastfeeding, she might decide not to do it.
Lactation specialists are always the best solution, and high-quality pumps are great too, but all of that can turn out to be very expensive. For some parents, other options are more cost-effective or at least seem so, if they do not have the proper info.
Baby doesn’t latch
Even when a mom wants to and is healthy enough to do it, breastfeeding might not go as smoothly as she would like. Sometimes, a baby can have difficulties latching while they are being fed, which means they won’t receive enough nourishment. To make matters worse, this usually frustrates the baby, which causes them to pull harder or even bite the nipple.
This might turn some moms to baby formula. However, there are a couple of tricks you can try if your baby is having difficulties latching. Don’t give up yet.
The first tip would be to try and cup your nipple in your palm and gently touch your baby’s cheek with it, thus encouraging your child to latch on. Massaging the breast gently while your baby is sucking can help milk production. Placing your baby skin-to-skin to yours before starting may also be helpful.
Another reason why your baby refuses to latch might be because they are in physical pain. Teething is a common cause of latching issues, as well as lying against a fresh vaccination mark, as it causes pain and soreness. Colds can cause a problem as they make breathing harder, and ear infections have been known to be an obstacle as well.
This is a rare genetic metabolic disease that renders breastfeeding impossible. Children born with this rare disorder must avoid all milk products throughout life. Most states run tests for this condition, but early diagnosis is imperative.
However, the mother’s pain can also be related to breastfeeding problems. Inverted or flat nipples are such a problem, and they occur when the child prefers one nipple over the other. When the child is not latching properly, the mother could get a yeast infection that can cause sores and cracked nipples.
Plugged ducts can occur when the breasts are not fully and properly emptied. Mastitis is another quite serious cause of such problems, and it develops when plugged ducts are not treated adequately. It is a condition that causes fever, and that won’t go away on its own, so it is strongly advised to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Another occurrence that spells trouble is when a mom does not have enough time to deplete her breasts properly. When that happens, the body starts to overproduce milk causing the breasts to become engorged. Some mothers might notice their breasts being engorged in the morning, after waking up.
It is important to note that all of these issues can be healed as long as they are addressed on time. Plugged ducts and chapped nipples can often be remedied at home. Massaging, keeping the nipples moisturized, and using warm compresses can alleviate the pain.
There is a number of health conditions that a mother can suffer from and that pose a threat to the baby in case of breastfeeding. In such cases, professional medical assistance is of the utmost importance.
Untreated tuberculosis, HIV infection, Hepatitis B or C, human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I or II and sepsis are just some of the cases when breastfeeding must be avoided. It should also be avoided if the mother is undergoing chemotherapy or taking certain types of medication.
Low milk production
Even if the mother is all for it, her schedule is flexible, and the kiddo is eager to feed, low milk production can be the culprit. Typically, it takes a couple of days after birth, and sometimes even longer, for your body to start producing milk. Inadequate milk production might cause you to feel inadequate as a mother yourself, you must know that resorting to such a way of thinking is drastic.
Do not forget – breastfeeding is not the only way your infant receives nourishment. It is important to note that there are dozens of other, adequate ways you can feed your child. So, if you are a bit discouraged, do not give up on breastfeeding so easily.
Personal Issues and Choices
Personal issues can also discourage mommies from breastfeeding. Body images, feat, lack of self-esteem, or the understandable feeling of embarrassment can inspire negative perception regarding breastfeeding. It is common for some mothers to be unable to see breasts as anything other than sexual objects.
Every mom has the right to make her own choices when it comes to feeding her infant and to be supported by family and friends. As far as parenting goes, there isn’t a just one “right” way to do it. The same goes for feeding.
It is essential to understand why a mother would decide to forego breastfeeding. The barriers that occur can be overcome, but not always. Mothers who breastfeed should never judge mommies that are not able to or chose not to. Ultimately, all moms are on the same team, and they want the same thing – to have a healthy, lively family.