Why moms stop breastfeeding
Did you know the #1 most consistently reported reason why moms stop breastfeeding is the belief that their baby is not satisfied by breastmilk alone? This is most common in the first 2 months of the baby's life.
(The other two most dominant reasons are due to feeding problems - like latch, pain, etc. - and lack of support.)
What contributes to this?
There are many reasons a mom may feel that her milk is not enough. A few examples are: long-standing worries starting before or during pregnancy about her ability to breastfeed her baby, her baby continuing to act fussy or unpleasant after a nursing session, or baby quickly taking a bottle when offered.
New mothers have a whole truckload of worries to work through and overcome, and being a breastfeeding mom just adds an additional trailer-full of concerns. So when a mom begins to think that her baby is not getting enough nutrition, that's usually sufficient worry to ditch breastfeeding before she actually wants to.
Additionally, family, friends, pediatricians, and other medical professionals may affirm a mom's worry instead of helping her find solutions, therefore resulting in the mother deciding to supplement with formula or switch to formula completely.
Here's the truth:
The vast majority of women have the capability to produce enough milk for their babies. A very small amount of women may have IGT, insufficient glandular tissue, and this is unrelated to the size of the breast itself, but instead relates to the amount of glandular (or milk-producing) tissue versus the amount of fatty tissue in the breast. If you suspect IGT, a lactation consultant can help determine if you fall into this category or not.
We know that breastmilk is uniquely designed to provide babies with all their nutritional needs up to 6 months of age, when it is then recommended to begin introducing solids into baby's diet.
Breastmilk is continually dynamic. It changes to meet a baby's needs whenever necessary. The baby's saliva informs the mother's body of what's needed and the breastmilk adjusts itself. Truly remarkable!
We also know that breastfeeding is a supply and demand system. Therefore, if low supply is a concern, continuing to feed frequently is the best first line of defense.
As for bottles, if a new baby is offered a bottle, he or she will typically guzzle it down right away because of the suckling reflex they are born with and the ease of milk flowing from a bottle's nipple. Mistaking this reflex for a hungry baby is not necessarily accurate.
So how can moms have peace of mind?
It begins with your mindset. As a new mom, you have to remind yourself that you are capable of breastfeeding. Your breastmilk is enough.
Next, support from fellow nursing mothers and lactation consultants to discuss concerns and address them is invaluable. You can't receive too much help!
Debunk your worries (or confirm and fix them!) A weighted feed, in which the baby is weighed just prior and just following a nursing session, is a really valuable way to determine exactly how much milk your baby is getting at a given feed.
Perfect the latch! A well latched baby is a baby who's able to transfer milk.
While there is no visible fuel gauge for breastfeeding moms to read to ensure that the baby is getting enough milk (but wouldn't that be amazing?!) there are ways to determine if baby is getting sufficient milk intake. What to look for:
- Wet and dirty diapers. Track them with paper and pencil or in an app like Baby Tracker. Output is a great indicator of intake. Contact your pediatrician or lactation consultant for guidelines on how many wet/dirty diapers are expected from your baby, as it changes frequently based on baby's age.
- When awake, baby is alert and active and meeting appropriate developmental milestones.
- Baby is gaining weight. (Just remember, not all babies follow the same growth curve, and it may take time to become consistent.)
- Baby is nursing 8-12 times per 24 hour period.
We hope this gives you that much more confidence in your ability to feed your baby. You're the mom for the job, and we're here cheering you on!
If you are in need of a NO COST breast pump for your breastfeeding journey, we can help! Start by filling out this form and we'll take it from there.