Almost two-thirds of pregnant women who have the goal of breastfeeding exclusively for the first three months of their baby’s life don’t achieve it, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, published in the July issue of Pediatrics, found that 42 percent of moms who planned to nurse had switched to formula in the first month, a third of them by the time they got home from the hospital. The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that moms breastfeed exclusively for about 6 months.
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The study followed about 1,500 women before and after the birth of their baby, and included only moms of healthy babies. New moms who were obese, smoked or had a goal to breastfeed longer than 6 months were less likely to meet their goal.
Married moms and non-first-time moms were more likely to nurse as long as they planned. Also, hospital practices seem to have a strong effect. Nursing within an hour of birth, rooming in, nursing on demand, getting lactation support and avoiding pacifiers all increased a new mom’s chances of making her breastfeeding goal (however, another recent study found pacis don’t have a negative effect). The biggest indicator of success was not supplementing with formula in the hospital.
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Did you breastfeed as long as you wanted to? If not, what challenges got in your way?