New moms intent on breastfeeding have a lot on their plate. Breastfeeding is exhausting, emotionally and physically. Add in pumping, issues of over or under supply or "just" the mountain of challenges that you can face as a new breastfeeding mom and you can see why moms can get overwhelmed. A new study (10.13) by the journal Pediatrics looks at the relationship between mom's breastfeeding worries impacts how long she breastfeeds the baby.
The study concluded that new mom concerns about breastfeeding directly affected the length of time that mom breastfed. Makes sense, right? If you're worried about something that you're doing, you may be less inclined to continue doing it as time goes on. The predominant new mom concerns are the usual suspects:
- difficulty with baby feeding at the breast (this can include latch, tongue tie, oral aversion issues, etc.);
- pain (breastfeeding should never hurt but it often does, especially when we're trying to figure out "how" to do it in the early days);
- quantity concerns (is baby getting enough to eat?)
These concerns are normal but still scary for the new mom. If breastfeeding is an important piece of the fourth trimester for you and your family, you might consider hiring a post-partum doula. The concerns above are issues that are addressed by a post-partum doula*. [Note: these concerns can also be addressed by a lactation consultant. Lactation consultants specialize in breastfeeding. ] A post-partum doula is a generalist who does three things for her clients: offer evidence-based information, hands-on help and unconditional support. So one takeaway of the article is the importance of hiring an experienced post-partum doula to help with breastfeeding in the early days.
The study is available by subscription only (of course!) but you can see the abstract here. You don't need to read the whole article though to get the recommendations by the study authors on how to close the gap between concerns and duration.